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Welcome to my Spring Series called “Bringing Spring into your Homeschool”. Today’s post is by yours truly and an experiment my son and I started with hyacinth bulbs. Make sure to check out other posts in this series and guest author bios by clicking on Bringing Spring into your Homeschool under Blog in the menu.

Learning About Bulbs – An Introduction and Experiment

Written by Amber Marie | April 18, 2018

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commision if you click through and make a purchase. To read my full disclosure policy click here.

Spring is finally here in Northern Virginia and after a weekend of planting flowers in our front garden, I couldn’t help but see the excitement in my oldest sons eyes as he asked me question after question about flowers and how they grow. What better way to introduce growing flowers than to a curious boy who is eager to learn.

To add a twist to this learning experience, I chose to teach my son about bulbs rather than using the traditional seed growing science lesson. Partly because most of the flowers we planted in the front garden grow from bulbs (daffodils, hyacinths, etc). I spent time researching the best way to teach this concept and pulled a few resources and supplies together to begin our journey through this science lesson.

The Supplies

I wanted to start teaching from the beginning of a bulb’s life cycle and continue through its progression toward bloom. However, with the late timing of throwing this lesson together, I was left with limited options for bulbs that were not already sprouting (Duh Amber…its already spring). Bulbs must be planted in the fall to go through a chilling period during winter so they can grow and bloom in the spring. After the chill is over the bulbs begin to sprout and over a few weeks begin blooming.

If I had planned a few months in advance for this sort of lesson, I would have prechilled some bulbs myself in the refrigerator (see more on how to do this here), but instead I went to Home Depot and found bulbs that had not sprouted very much yet. With my bulbs, the roots had already spread out so I had to be gentle when pulling them out of the dirt and cleaning them. Ideally the bulbs would have no roots and they would grow out over the duration of the experiment, but again I had to go with what was available. If you’d like to see what this experiment would look like if starting from a pre-chilled bulb, check out Chelsey’s post over at Buggy and Buddy.

I also stopped at Hobby Lobby and bought three vases and two different sized river rocks. I wanted to have enough for each child (my oldest and youngest and the little girl I watch during the week…this is going to be part of her mother’s day gift to her mommy). Honestly, you could probably pick up the same stuff at a dollar tree or walmart, but I was close to Hobby Lobby so I went with it and who doesn’t love that store. I could get lost in there for hours!

The Intro Lesson

Now that I had all the supplies needed, I wanted to start with a lesson on bulb anatomy. I realize my son is five and a lot of the terms may be over his head, but I didn’t see any problem with a small introduction. I began by reading this book to give a little introduction to the inside of a bulb and how it grows. Then we moved onto dissecting one of the bulbs. This was a nice hands-on activity that gave my son a real life example of a bulb’s insides (so much better than just looking at a page in a book).

I used a sharp knife to slice the bulb from top to bottom. Then I had my son draw what he saw and we compared the pictures from the book to the real bulb. I helped him label the parts then we discussed what the different parts did for the plant. I tried to keep this lesson very short because it was a lot of scientific jargon to throw at a five year old and he was super excited to start assembling our experiment.

The Task

After gathering all the materials onto our table, I let my son fill his vase with river rocks until it was about half full. From there we nestled the bulb gently into the river rocks and added a few more pebbles for support. Finally, my son filled the vase with water so only the base of the bulb was covered. DO NOT fill it too much and cover the whole bulb!!! All that water will cause it to rot and your experiment will probably fail.

After preparing our little bulb vase, I asked my son to make some predictions about what he thought may happen over the next few weeks. The book mentioned above shows some nice pictures of bulb growth and its life cycle, so with this recent background knowledge these predictions came easier to him. Finally, I drew a quick outline of the vase and had my son draw the bulb, sprout and roots for this first week (I made sure to make copies of the outline so each week I could have him draw the bulbs progression). I was so proud of his focus when drawing. This concentration is a new development, so I get very excited when he shows interest in art and doing his best work.

My son loved this whole activity and is even more excited to see how these plants grow. Join me in two weeks for an update on our bulbs and for extension lessons regarding this activity. Be sure to share your spring experiments in the comments below. Until next time!

 

Check out my newest post concerning this experiment by clicking the image below.

Amber Marie

Welcome to my homeschooling blog. I’m a former educator turned homeschool mom. Homeschooling is a relatively new adventure for our family. Click my picture to learn more about my story and why I homeschool my family.

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COMMENTS

16 Comments

  1. Sarh

    LOVE this experiment and used it several times in our co-op for our younger kiddos. They loved watching how it grew and bloomed without soil. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
    • Amber Marie

      Thank you! This is a great experiment for a coop for sure!

      Reply
  2. Heidi Ciravola

    We have dissected daffodils but not just a bulb itself. It look impressive when you cut it open!

    Reply
    • Amber Marie

      It sure does! I didn’t know what the inside looked like until cutting it open. Pictures don’t do it justice.

      Reply
  3. Kristina Peterson

    What a wonderful science study. What I love most is that the bulbs are a terrific size for the kids to examine. I’ll be adding this to our science experiments file. Thanks for the experiment!

    Reply
    • Amber Marie

      You are so right! My son loved being able to see all the parts since they were big enough to see.

      Reply
  4. Michelle Cannon

    Great study! Nature study is one of my favorite subjects.

    Reply
    • Amber Marie

      Mine too! My children and I are both constantly amazed by all that Nature has to offer.

      Reply
  5. Brandy

    What a fun experiment. Definitely going to try this with my girls!

    Reply
    • Amber Marie

      You definitely should! It was a lot of fun!

      Reply
  6. Mary

    Such a great idea to have my boys get ready to help with gardening this year, thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
    • Amber Marie

      You’re welcome! And yes, it was great being able to talk with my boys about the hyacinths in our garden and how they came from the bulbs just like the ones we dissected in our experiment. That’s a win in my book for homeschooling 😉

      Reply
  7. KT @ Lit Mama

    We use gardening as part of our lessons every year. It’s a great way to teach both life skills and science. Also, I’m jealous that you live in northern Virginia. ☺

    Reply
    • Amber Marie

      Yes I love that I’m teaching both in one lesson. Haha I’m not so sure you want to be jealous, our weather has been up and down the past two months…I fear for my flowers 😁

      Reply
  8. Jamie | Mom Wife Homeschool Life

    This is looks so much fun! We haven’t done a study on bulbs, and honestly I hadn’t thought about it. I think my kids would really like this. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Amber Marie

      Thanks Jamie. My son really loved it and can’t wait for the flowers bloom. I’m sure your kids will love it!

      Reply

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