Springtime Week

Springtime Week

Period: 15-21 March 2021

Springtime has sprung! You might have noticed little green things poking through the ground. But what are they?

This week learn with us about the life cycle of plants, animals visiting your garden and enter our exciting Spring competition.

Sections


Activities

Life Cycle of Plants

Springtime has sprung! You might have noticed little green things poking through the ground. But what are they?

These are the shoots or seedlings of young plants ready to continue their life above ground! Many have been dormant in the ground all winter and are ready to come tur now that it is warmer. Springtime is also an excellent time to plant seeds that would not last the winter.

Seeds are kind of like eggs. They have all the information inside that the plant needs to grow and become a fully grown plant. Seeds need three main things to germinate or grow:

  • Water
  • Oxygen
  • Right temperature

Some seeds are also sensitive to light, but mainly, light is needed for plants that have already sprouted above ground.

Once the seed's outer shell breaks open, something called the radicle – basically a tiny root – shoots down into the soil to hold it in place. Then, the shoot – called a plumule – unfurls and pokes up through the soil, searching for light and air. Once it reaches the surface, leaves begin to sprout, called cotyledons. These leaves store up food for the plant and may start the process of photosynthesis – the process plants use to turn sunlight into energy.

As the stem grows taller, more leaves will grow, and many plants will produce a flower or fruit. This is where the seeds will grow and fertilise. There are a few different parts of the inside of a flower – the pistil and the stamen. The pistil carries pollen, and when it touches the stamen, seeds will begin to form in the ovary – or fruit. Then, they will fall to the ground to plant a new plant!

Try out the life cycle of a plant activity below!

The Life Cycle of Plants (BBC Bitesize)
The Life Cycle of Plants (BBC Bitesize)
Think plants don’t move? Think again! Watch this time-lapse of a kidney bean germinating, sprouting, and then dancing its way up, up, up!

Plant the Kitchen

This time of year is a great time to start your garden up! Even if you don’t have a lot of outdoor space, you can use what you have indoors and around your windows to make a garden you can eat from!

Using scraps from the kitchen, you can plant a lot of your own food! Peppers, pineapples, potatoes, carrots, citrus fruits, berries, and many other fruits and veggies can be regrown from scraps or seeds left behind from what we eat! Try some of the following plants yourself!

Root Vegetables

Root vegetables, like beets and potatoes, can be easily regrown from scraps in your kitchen. For beets, cut the top off the beet, lay the top cut side down in a container with soils or even cotton balls. Keep the soil or cotton moist but not soaking. The leaves will begin to regrow in just a few weeks! The root itself will not regrow, but you can use the leaves in a tasty salad!

Potatoes, on the other hand, are very straightforward! Take a few potatoes that have begun to sprout (have eyes on them), and cut them into pieces that have 1-2 eyes each. Plant them 6-8 inches deep in a large container with plenty of soil and keep moist. When the plants' leaves begin to turn yellow, your potatoes are ready to harvest (about two months)!

Leafy and Bulb Vegetables

Lettuce and celery can be regrown if you cut the plant's bottom part with the roots about 1 inch from the bottom. Now place them in a shallow dish with water. You can leave them in the dish or transplant them into the soil once they have roots!

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits can be regrown from seeds in the fruit. Keep them moist, plant them in shallow soil, and cover them with a plastic lid to create a greenhouse. Once they have sprouted, you can transplant them into a larger pot. The trees will take a few years to give fruit, but they smell wonderful!

You can also use an avocado pit to regrow an avocado tree! Clean the pit, and place 3-4 toothpicks in the sides to make a cross pattern. Use the toothpicks to hold the avocado on the rim of a shallow dish, and fill the dish with water only halfway up the pit. Once it sprouts, plant the tree in the soil, but keep the top half above ground.

There are many more plants you can grow from things in your garden! Check out these sites for more ideas.

Don’t have compost? That’s ok, you can make it yourself! Check out this video we did during the Global Science Show in October 2020 to learn how to make your own compost at home!

Growing Kitchen Scraps Video
How to Grow Fruits and Vegetables From Table Scraps (from Garden Tech)
How to Grow Fruits and Vegetables From Table Scraps (from Garden Tech)
DSC Composting Video
Grow Your Kitchen Activity Worksheet
Grow Your Kitchen (PDF)

Garden Upcycling

Now that we have started our gardens, we also want to make them look nice! Go through your recycling (and save anything you might be able to reuse that would normally go in the rubbish bin) to make some fun decorations for your garden!

The RSPB has an Upcycling for Nature Wild Challenge going on, so be sure to visit their site for ideas here and submit any fun projects you make!

Garden Visitors

Now that the weather’s a bit warmer, you might notice some little critters in your garden that you missed over the winter. Remember when we talked about winter visitors during Winter and Conservation and Nature Detective weeks? During the springtime, there are even more animals looking for good things to eat and warm places to hide after the long winter.

During this period, some animals to look out for include: Bumblebees, Butterflies, Toads, Hedgehogs, Puffins and other seabirds, and Red squirrels.

Bumblebee
Bumblebee
Butterfly
Butterfly
Hedgehog
Hedgehog
Puffins
Puffins
Squirrels
Squirrels
Terns
Terns

Some of these animals can be prey for bigger animals, so why not try to build a safe place for them to hide?

Check out the RSPB’s Hedgehog Café activity below to build a safe place for the hedgehogs in your garden.

Spring by the Seaside

Here in Tayside, Spring also means new and returning sea life – from puffins and terns to dolphins and even sharks!

It’s also important to protect the plants and animals that live by the sea and water. We can do this in lots of ways. Check out this National Trust page to find some ideas that you can participate in to help keep our coasts safe.

This week, why not take a walk by the seaside (or Tayside), and see if you can find any signs of Spring – birds, wildflowers, even deer! Then make a poster, collage, or map using your pictures and send them to us to share in our competition.

Enter Competition

The winners will be selected just before the Easter Holidays.

Good luck everyone, and happy spring hunting!


Also see our other Galleries.

Seaside Photograph
Scotland's Marine Protected Areas
Visit Tentsmuir

Also see our other Home Learning Portal information and don't forget to enter our Competition of the Week.

If you have enjoyed these activities please share them with your friends and family.