Early Science  /  Plants  /  Week 1: Lesson 1  /  Activity

Introducing Seeds & Journals


Digital Journal

Children examine and discuss seeds and planting materials they will use in their hands-on activities. Then they use the photo tool in the digital Plants Journal to record observations about the seeds.

Students examining seeds in a bag. Student looking at seeds in a bag.

Examine bean seeds that have been soaked overnight.

What do you notice? Have any of the bean seeds sprouted?



  • Dry kidney beans (or red beans or pinto beans)
  • Paper towels
  • Potting soil
  • Water spray bottle
  • 3 sealable plastic sandwich bags
  • Plants Journal app on an iPad


  1. The day before Lesson 1 will take place, soak several bean seeds overnight in cool water. Then place them in a sealed plastic bag.
  2. Note: At this time, soak additional bean and other seeds for each small group to plant. See the Planting Seeds activity for details.
  3. Place several DRY bean seeds in a sealed plastic bag so children can compare dry bean seeds with soaked bean seeds.
  4. Place a small amount of potting soil in a sealed plastic bag.

Directions: Lesson 1

Circle Time: Introduction
  1. Introduce the Plants curriculum unit with clues. We’re going to start a new science project. These are some of the things we’ll use.
    • Pass around a sealed plastic bag containing dry bean seeds, a sealed plastic bag containing potting soil, and a water spray bottle.
    • What do you think we are going to learn about and do together? Why do you think we need a water spray bottle?
    • Let children draw conclusions and share prior knowledge about seeds and planting.
  2. Show children the plastic bag of bean seeds that you have soaked overnight in preparation for planting. Ask children to compare these with the plastic bag of dry bean seeds. Discussion ideas:
    • Let’s observe and describe these beans. How are they the same? How are they different?
    • Tell me about their color, their size (for example, which is bigger or smaller), and their shape.
    • How did soaking the bean seeds in water change them? (The water made the seeds swell and get bigger; the seed coat may look wrinkled, cracked open, or sprouted.)
  3. Open the Plants Journal app on the iPad and tap one of the colored Journal buttons on the right side. Tap the Journal Entries button on the All Activities screen, and then tap the Plant in Bag option to open the camera. Let a child help you take a photo of two beans, side by side: one presoaked and one not.
  4. Encourage children to discuss the photos. Possible discussion ideas:
    • What do you see in this picture?
    • Let’s compare the two bean seeds. How do these two bean seeds look different?
    • What does the dry bean seed look like? What does the bean seed that was soaked in water overnight look like?
    • Which bean is smaller? Which one is bigger?
  5. Explain that all the children will work in groups to grow, care for, and document several plants. Each group will have its own journal on the iPad. The children will document their plants’ growth in the Growing Beans: Journal Entries Guided Small Group activity.
  6. Note: The photo taken during this activity will need to be deleted in order for one of the Guided Small Groups to photograph their own bean seeds. You can do this any time before the Guided Small Group meets. Open the photo, tap delete, and then tap the X to delete the photo. Otherwise, simply open the photo when the group is ready to take the photo of their bean seeds and tap redo to take a new photo.

Length of Play

10 min.

Group Size
In the Schedule


  • bigger
  • compare
  • describe
  • different
  • observe
  • same
  • seed
  • seed coat
  • smaller
  • soil
Learning Goals

  • Observe and describe what plants need to live and grow.
  • Observe and describe plant parts and their functions.
  • Record observations and data about plant parts and their functions.
  • Compare size (big/small).