Explore Together (indoors): Different Bulbs

  • markers
  • pictures or books of plants grown from bulbs (onions, garlic, etc.)
  • science journals
  • various bulbs
  • bulb
  • dirt
  • grow
  • plant
  • seed

MA Standards

Language/L.PK.MA.6: Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, listening to books read aloud, activities, and play.

Head Start Outcomes

Logic and Reasoning/Reasoning and Problem Solving: Classifies, compares, and contrasts objects, events, and experiences.
Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Observes and discusses common properties, differences, and comparisons among objects.
Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Collects, describes, and records information through discussions, drawings, maps, and charts.
Science Knowledge/Conceptual Knowledge of Natural and Physical Worlds: Observes, describes, and discusses living things and natural processes.

PreK Learning Guidelines:

English Language Arts/Language 2: Participate actively in discussions, listen to the ideas of others, and ask and answer relevant questions.
Science and Technology/Inquiry Skills 4: Record observations and share ideas through simple forms of representation such as drawings.
Science and Technology/Living Things and Their Environment 15: Use their senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste to explore their environment using sensory vocabulary.

Explore Together (indoors): Different Bulbs

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care (Jennifer Waddell photographer). All rights reserved.

STEM Key Concepts: Plants start in different ways; Some plants start from seeds; Some plants start from bulbs; Plants have different parts: roots, stems, leaves, and fruit; Plants need water, food, and sunlight to grow; Plants grow in places where they get their needs met; Plants often grow in some type of dirt

ELA Focus Skills: Compare and Contrast, Speaking and Listening, Vocabulary

Educator Prep: Display different types of whole bulbs. Make one of them an onion bulb that children will be planting in small groups.

Safety Tips:

  • Before choosing bulbs children will be handling, check that the bulbs are non-toxic.
  • Remind children to wash their hands before and after the activity.
  • Remind children not to eat ANY plants or touch any plants without asking an adult.

Remind children that some plants start from seeds and some start from bulbs. Show them some pictures or books illustrating different plants that grow from bulbs. Ask children if they are familiar with any of the plants and invite their descriptions. Tell them that today they are going to have a chance to observe different kinds of bulbs from some of these plants.

Have children work in small groups to explore different types of bulbs and be sure the books and pictures are available as children explore. Listen and engage children when you notice something that sparks their attention. Ask questions such as,

  • What do you notice about how each of the bulbs look? How they smell? How they feel?
  • Can you describe the smells of each bulb?
  • How do the garlic and onion bulbs smell differently than some of the other bulbs?

Invite children to try to “peel” the bulbs by asking questions like:

  • What did you notice about the garlic bulb when you looked inside the peel? (separate sections [cloves])
  • What was different about the outside of the onion bulb and the outside of the lily bulb? (one flaky, thin piece/many rougher pieces)

Have children draw and/or write something they observed about the bulbs in their science notebooks or on the “Plants All Around” chart.

Reflect and Share
Have the group talk about their observations of bulbs. Remind children that one of the skills scientists have is making drawings to record what they observe so they can share them with others and keep a record of their observations. Invite children to share their drawings and anything they have written about the bulbs. Ask questions such as,

  • What did you notice was the same about the bulbs? What did you notice was different?
  • What plants do you think would grow if we planted each of these bulbs?
  • If you wanted this onion bulb to grow, how would you plant it?
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