NATURE QUEST ACTIVITY
Grow a Sunflower
So you want more wildlife in your school? Plant the right things and there’s a good chance that it will come.
To get you started, try growing some sunflowers. They’re fairly easy, look great, bees and insects love them and their seeds make great food for birds. And if you’re the competitive type, challenge your friends to see who can grow the tallest sunflower!
Did you know? The sunflower is the only flower with the word “flower” in its name.
Just a few ingredients and you’ll be on your way to sunflower glory:
- Plastic cup
- Garden sunflower seeds
- Large flowerpot
STEP BY STEP GUIDE
It’ll take about 8 weeks to grow a sunflower from seed and here’s how:
1. Put some compost in a plastic cup, almost to the top. Poke your finger in the soil to make a hole for your sunflower seed.
2. Pop a sunflower seed into the hole then cover it with a little compost. Give it a water so it’s nice and damp.
3. Put the cup somewhere sunny and warm. Give your sunflower a little water whenever it feels dry.
4. You should see your plant poke through the soil after about 1 or 2 weeks. Now’s the time to start measuring how much it grows each week – make a log of its progress.
5. When your plant grows too big for the cup, plant it in a bigger flowerpot or outside if you have somewhere warm and sunny.
6. Your plant should flower after about 8 weeks – ta da!
7. When the sunflower head start to turn brown, cut it off and hang it somewhere dry and airy.
8. When the seeds are dry, rub them together to loosen them. Birds can eat your seeds if you leave them outside.
First create sets of cards with the following words on them soil, water, light, air and warmth. Each child will need a full set.
Gather the group together and explain that they are going to be seeds. Ask them what they need to survive. Now spread out the cards on the ground and tell the group they need to quickly collect the 5 things they need to grow.
Once they have done this, take back the cards and remove some of the warmth and water cards. Spread the cards out again and tell the group they have to try and collect all of the things they need to grow. Only some of the children will be able to do this. Ask the group why this might be e.g. not enough sun or rain. You can repeat this with as many variations as you like.
Discuss what other factors mean plants don’t grow e.g. predators, human impact, habitat destruction etc.
Take a picture of yourself next to your giant flower – how tall can your plant grow?