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Germination of a Lima Bean


Author: David Riddick
Date Created: 7/28/2003 8:13:15 PM PST



27 Students. 14 boys and 13 girls. 4 EO's; 6 IFEP's; 3 RFEP's; 14 ELD3-4: GATE class - advanced learners

Subject Area(s):
Language Arts (English), Science

Students will learn to observe the growth of a seed into a plant and describe the germination of a seed.

State Academic Content Standard(s):

CA- CCTC: Aligned CSTP's and TPE's

• Standard : CSTP: Standard for Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning
TPE: E. Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning
CSTP Description: Teachers create physical environments that engage all students in purposeful learning activities and encourage constructive interactions among students. Teachers maintain safe learning environments in which all students are treated fairly and respectfully as they assume responsibility for themselves and one another. Teachers encourage all students to participate in making decisions and in working independently and collaboratively. Expectations for student behavior are established early, clearly understood, and consistently maintained. Teachers make effective use of instructional time as they implement class procedures and routines.

• CSTP Key Element : Using instructional time effectively.

 Question : pace and adjust instructional time so that all students remain engaged?

CA- California K-12 Academic Content Standards

• Subject : Science

• Grade : Grade Four

• Area : Life Sciences

• Sub-Strand 2: All organisms need energy and matter to live and grow. As a basis for understanding this concept:

 Standard a: Students know plants are the primary source of matter and energy entering most food chains.

Cognitive: Students will learn the growth cycles of plants. Students will know plants are the primary source of matter and energy entering most food chains.

Observable: Students will record six observations of bean growth in their journals. Students will create a table or graph that matches the results in their journals and displays bean growth over the duration of the activity.

Criteria: Given a bean seed, students will measure and record in their journals bean germination within 1/4 inch accuracy.

Prerequisite Background Skills/ Knowledge:
Students know the difference between living organisms and nonliving things. Students should know all organisms need energy and matter to live and grow.

Vocabulary/Language Skills:
Listening: Students listen to verbal instructions given on how to observe and measure growth of a lima bean.

Speaking: Students participate in inquiry lesson by discussing what they observe from their investigation.

Writing: Students write what they observe in their science journals.

Reading: Students read instructions on the board with teacher.

Vocabulary: energy, matter, food chains, producer, light, germination,

Lima beans—at least two per student
• Resealable bags—one per student
• Paper towels—at least two sheets per student
• Water
• Bleach (for advance preparation of the beans only)
• Paper—6 sheets per student
• Stapler(s)—for binding student-created journals

1) Quickly dip lima beans into a solution of 1 part bleach to six parts water (to clean the bean and get rid of fungi). Be sure to do this or your beans will mold.

2. Soak the beans overnight in water prior to handing out to students.

Classroom Management:
During directed lesson, students are seated in assigned seats, which are 2-person desks.

I will give out extra credit points for students who participate and cooperate with lesson.

Extra credit points for actively engaged students

Models of Instruction:








As an attention getter, have each student create a journal "Inquiry into Beans" by folding six pieces of paper in half and stapling along the folded edges. Students can label and decorate journals as appropriate.

Show beans and a bag with wet paper towels inside. Tell the students that they are going to place beans onto the wet paper towels in the bags and leave them in the light.

What do they predict will happen? Can they draw a picture of what they think they will end up with? How long will it take? Do they know the names of any of the parts of a seed? Record the predictions in the journal.


Start the bean germination with the class by having each student (or pair):

1. Label bag with student name(s).

2. Dampen paper towels with water. Towels should be completely wet, but not dripping.

3. Fold wet paper towels to fit into zip lock bag. Don't worry about towels being perfectly flat. It works better with a few wrinkles in the paper towels.

4. Put two beans in the bag. Make sure students do not handle the beans too much or they will redeposit bacteria that may cause mold. The beans should be separate and visible with the bag lying on its side.

5. Close the bag and leave in a location with light. Windowsills work great!

6. Record an observation of the bean seed at day #1 (noting the date and time) in their journals.
The bean inquiry will continue over the next two weeks. Have the students:

1. Check the bag at least three times per week. Make sure that paper towels remain damp. Record observations (descriptions and drawings) in a journal with the date and time of each observation.

2. When sprouts appear, measure and record length of sprouts at each observation. Germination and observations should continue for several weeks.

High achieving students may express measures on excel as a table or graph.

Guided Practice:
Direct students how to start the bean germination. Students model instruction from teacher.

Ask open-ended questions of students. What do they think will happen next?

Visually demonstrate the procedure for starting the seed germination.

Encourage English learners to use drawings and to make measurements during their observation of the germination process over the two weeks following the lesson.

Use student pairs for language support.

Independent Practice:
After learning about plant growth and germinating bean seeds, students will record six observations of bean growth in their journals.

On a daily basis, students will measure and record in their journals bean sprout growth within an accuracy of 1/4 inch.

The students will demonstrate that they are curious about the events of the lesson by asking questions, using science processes, and remaining actively engaged throughout the bean growth activity.

Students share day #1 observations and their predictions of what will happen during the seed germination process.

After two weeks, students will present their planted lima beans as a potted plant.

In a grand conversation, students will reflect on what they learned and their surprises.



Assessment/ Reflection





Students will measure and record in their journals lima bean germination within 1/4 inch accuracy.

The objective of the lesson was achieved. Students were able to measure and record in their journals lima bean germination within ¼ inch accuracy. The lesson was modified to allow students to record their observations in centimeters. This is a lesson I have done in the past. I was glad to see I have matured in my instruction of the lesson. The first time I instructed this lesson, I was bogged down by all the supplies. I allowed for very little discourse to explain what the students were thinking and doing. This time, I was able to ask open-ended questions throughout my instruction to encourage scientific inquiry. The materials became less cumbersome to me. I was able to allow students to participate more in preparing supplies. I enabled monitors to prep, pass out supplies, and clean up. This allowed me to concentrate on using instructional time appropriately.

In addition, I made sure to allow time for students to reflect on their learning. I allowed students to keep measurements of their lima beans after their were planted. Many of them grew into plants, some even flowered.

I did not anticipate the writing and making of the “Lima Bean” journals would be so sloppy. I used bank paper for the students to take and record notes. If I were to teach this lesson again, I would be sure to provide students with lined paper to create the journals. This lesson was appropriate because it was on grade level and made good use of instructional time.