A month ago we were invited to a BBQ lunch for my sister's birthday. We were to bring pinto beans and Spanish rice (BTW my husband makes great Spanish rice). I put the beans in the crockpot with water to soak overnight, so that in the morning they would cook in time for the BBQ. Well, the very non culinary person that I am, put too many beans and they had filled the pot to the rim. I had to take some out and set them aside; thinking that I would cook them later. I didn't (I forgot) and my oldest later that week called me over to point out that some of the beans were starting to sprout. I've never seen that happen, so we threw them out.
Here is where the science and nature picks up. She took a botany class with a lovely retired couple at our local Botanical Gardens about two years ago. She remembered doing an experiment with beans to show their development. You put the bean in a soaked paper towel and then in a plastic sandwich bag (it definitely helps to presoak the bean first). The bag is set near a window that gets sunlight. This is the result:
Right after my bean incident, I decided to look for something to read to the younger kids because they were so intrigued by my presoaked beans and wanted to do the experiment right this time. It turned out great. How do they do that? That's what's inside?.... Last year, after planting our garden, we read A Seed is Sleepy , Oh Say Can You Seed, and others we borrowed from the library. I really wanted something different this year. I found a great book reprinted by Yesterday's Classics written by Margaret Morley called Seed Babies; it was perfect. The language is simple but very informative and appropriate. It starts, none the less, with a bean and a little boy. The bean takes the boy through the cycle of the bean and what it needs to grow. The book continues with the little boy and his brother learning about other seed babies like green beans, pumpkins (which we planted back in May), and a few others. There are also a couple of chapters on other type of seeds: frog eggs, bird eggs, and bumble bees.
I knew this was my kind of book when I opened the first page and it reads,"It will add very much to their interest in seeds if the children have peas, beans, nuts, etc., to look at as they read about them." I'd say that sounds like a great living book teaching through observation as well.