• Science Project of the Month: Don't Toss It, Regrow It!

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    Welcome to the second installment of our Science Project of the Month Series! Each month, Secular Homeschool will feature a science project that you can do with your homeschoolers. Whether you are “science-y” or not, these will be easy, fun, and perfect to do as a family. The fun facts included will supplement the science lesson, so be sure to check those out as well.

    Stuck indoors? Us too. Yep, as homeschoolers, we school at home but we are also used to going where we want, when we want. We are all in the same boat. Stuck at home and silently going bonkers! Kids are being a little crazier daily, and you are about to lose it. You need a science project to distract them. I have just the thing! Not only will this project keep them busy today, but they will need to observe and care for it for the next few weeks. Science experiments are an opportunity for you to create a learning unit.

    Create A Unit Study

    If you are new to homeschooling and unsure of how to create a learning unit or have no idea what I am talking about, let me explain further. Yes, this can be a 1-day science project. But you can expand on it and create a unit study. Take this lesson further by:

    • Reading: Students should read about the life cycle of each vegetable you will be regrowing.
    • Math: Create charts of the days and measure the growth of the vegetables.
    • Science: Observe daily what is changing and log your theory on the reasons why.
    • History: When did humans begin to cultivate vegetables? When did romaine lettuce first appear?
    • Life Skills: Growing your own food and reducing waste.
    • Spelling: Alphabetize the names of the plants you are regrowing; have the students study up for a spelling quiz.
    • Socialization: Create a video to share with friends or relatives of what you are doing.


    See how easy it is to turn something as simple as regrowing what we would toss in the composter into a lesson or two? Homeschooling is about turning everything you do daily into a lesson. Kids are sponges and absorb everything around them, all the time. They are constantly learning, so make use of that.

    Regrow Vegetables

    This month, we are going to take items you would normally toss in your composter or trash and regrow them. Yep, you read that right. This is one of my favorite things to do both in our homeschool and my childcare. It is easy, gets great results and kids can help observe AND eat the results. Did you know that simple things like romaine lettuce, celery, green onions, carrots, potatoes, and some leafy herbs can all be regrown? They totally can. You will need a sunny window and kitchen waste. It may take you a few days to collect it all before you can try the experiment. Keeping them in the crisper drawer, in a plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel will preserve them until time to use. You are literally about to create an indoor garden for kids. Ready? Here we go……

    Supplies Needed:


    • Cups or bowls that can hold water, long term. Sizes vary. Do not use paper bowls, even the coated kind. They will eventually soak through.
    • Water. Tap is fine. Bottled or distilled works too. You will be changing it often so keep that in mind.
    • Leftover vegetable/fruit waste. These must be raw, uncooked and not rotten or spoiled.
      • Romaine lettuce base
      • Green onions/leeks
      • Celery base
      • Basil, Oregano, Cilantro
      • Sweet potato or Yam
      • Potato; red, yukon, russet, etc.
      • Avocado Seed
      • Pineapple top
      • Carrot tops
      • Radish tops
      • Bok choy
      • Cabbage

    • Sharp knife, parental supervision or use required.
    • Sunny window or table/shelf located in front of a sunny window.


    Instructions:


    1. Make sure your bowls are clean and sanitized. The fewer germs, the better. These like freshwater to grow and because they are open bowls and cups, you will need to change the water often to ensure proper growth and not allow rot.
    2. Set up bowls where you will be observing them. Easier to assemble them in place versus carrying bowls with water across the kitchen or dining room.
    3. Here is how to prepare each vegetable/fruit above.


    • Romaine lettuce base. Cut off the bottom of a head of romaine lettuce, approx. 1-2 inches above the base. If the bottom of your base (the hard fibrous bottom) is brown, you can shave that off with your knife to create a nice clean area for it to absorb water. Place in a bowl, base down.
    • Green onions or leeks. Wash them, do not cut off roots. Remove any dead stalks. Place in a group, in a cup or glass. You want them to be supporting each other, so choose a smaller cup if needed.
    • Celery base. Same as romaine. Cut off base, approx. 1-2 inches above the base. If the bottom of your base is dried or brown, shave off a thin layer to create a clean area for absorbing water. Place in a bowl, base down.
    • Basil, oregano, cilantro.. You just need to wash them, remove bottom leaves from the stalk (like your fresh flowers, leaves sitting in water will start to rot, which is what we want to avoid) and place them in a cup or glass.
    • Sweet potato, yam or regular potato. You need ˝ of the potato. Cut it in ˝, place the cut side down in the bowl. You can also suspend it with toothpicks over a glass, making sure the cut side is in water all the time.
    • Avocado seed. This is my least favorite to grow. I have never had luck with it. I have tried for 40 years, yet many people have luck with it. Try it if you dare! Suspend the seed with toothpicks over a glass. Make sure the base is in the water at all times.
    • Pineapple top. Yep, you just need that spikey top off the pineapple and it will re-grow a new plant. Make sure the cut side is in the bowl, spikes up.
    • Carrot tops, radish tops. These both get the same treatment.. You could also try other root based, leafy vegetables like beets or turnips. Place the cut side of the top down in the bowl and the leafy tops will regrow. You can use them in salads or stir-fry.
    • Bok choy and cabbage. Same as romaine lettuce. You need the base, with 1-2 inches of the leaves above it. Clean up the base if needed. Place the base side down in a bowl.


    Add water to each of these. Don’t be skimpy. The base needs to be covered. You may need to pick up the item to allow water to reach under it, then replace it in the water. Now, sit back and observe. You can and will be able to regrow these items for consumption. These are easy vegetables for kids to grow. Teach the kids that they are growing food from what you would normally throw away. Reminder to change the water every few days. It will get scummy otherwise. You can change out the cups, bowls, glasses completely during this time to ensure fully sanitary conditions. I run mine through the dishwasher, set aside for the next change. You can also check the base and wipe off if it feels a little slimy. Within a few days, you will notice growth. You can either trim them to eat OR if the weather is warm enough, transplant to a pot with dirt or into your garden for further regrowth. Items such as celery, lettuce, bok choy, and cabbage are perfect for this. Items such as the green onions, leeks, and herbs can be kept even longer in your fridge and trim the tops to use as needed. They won’t grow within the fridge but they will stay fresher and less slimy.

    I encourage you to read up on different ways to grow things like the pineapple top and avocado seed. My version listed may not work for you but there are many different ways available online. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t grow right away. It may be a bad base. I once had celery that did nothing but rot, despite my best efforts of changing water often and removing rotten sections. I ended up tossing it and starting over. The new base was fine and regrew.

    You are also not tied to this list. I suggest you experiment with other items and see if you can get them to regrow. Observe what happens? Why did it work? Why did it fail? Experimenting is part of science and part of homeschooling. Come back and share how yours worked. We love hearing from members.


    My Starter Image (will share the growth one soon!)
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    If you have any questions, comments or just want to chat, you can email me; [email protected]
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