Monday, 20 March 2017

Innocent UK #SowandGrowUK - An Update

A few weeks ago I announced our collaboration with innocent and GIY on their #SowandGrowUK campaign.

Since then, the boys and I have thrown ourselves into the campaign and have loved every minute of it, so I thought it was time to update you on what's been going on.

We have made a great start to the mission by sowing our seeds and tracking their growth, as well as taking part in the other food related activities.

Week 1

Our first activity was easy.

I separated the pots between the 2 boys and saved 4 for future lessons.

Using the packs provided, the boys filled the pots with soil and planted the different seeds.

The boys recognised and planted the runner beans first. They instantly knew these would grow quickly and tall, so were really keen to pot, water and place them in an appropriate place.

The boys had similar understanding of how cress grew. However, this brought up an interesting conversation regarding the unusual environment needed to grow cress.

The boys had little prior understanding of how the third seed (carrots) grew as despite us trying several times, we have had little success in growing any.

We loved this lesson as it reinforced prior learning about the materials and environments needed for the growth of seeds.

The education pack was excellent with opening pages featuring the different seeds we were growing. Each page described how they grew, how to sow, explored the growing stages, and how to harvest.

The boys read along. I loved how it was clear to follow but provided a literacy element by introducing words like seedlings, germinate as well as descriptive words like dirty, crumbly, lumps and mouldy.

The age range and extensions are fantastic too! The first plan has movement to grow from lower range activities to upper range activities and then extra ideas.

Week 2

The second week allowed us to see how well our seeds had started to grow.

The first lesson has the “My Growing Chart” activity sheet. This is a great resource. I converted the chart and made a larger one for the boys to keep track of growth.

I decided to incorporate numeracy in week 2, so we measured the growth of the seeds in units of 10. This made a great numeracy lesson by counting in multiples, using charts and graphs as well as measuring and recording.

The Runner beans, as predicted had shot up! It was great to measure them and the boys were really competitive to see who's plant was tallest. (James won!)

The cress also sprouted, but not as expected. After re-reading the information pack we decided we probably hadn't given them enough water.

We didn't see any growth from the carrot seed though so recorded that and then discussed why this may have happened.

Week 3

This was a whopper of a week!

The runner beans doubled in length and the cress needed a massive cut.

William took the lead in the growth of both the seeds. However, still no growth from the carrots.

We took part in lesson two: Growing Power.

The lesson explores what plants need to grow. The idea was to create 4 different environments and see what growth happened in each.

We started off discussing what seeds needed to grow. It was a great lesson on this basis alone.

The boys knew seeds needed water, oxygen and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, somewhere safe, sunlight, space and warmth. All the things the plan suggests should include as key features of plant growth. However, the boys had a heated debate over what the seeds needed to feed from. The premise that they needed soil was compromised by the cress seeds. In a previous experiment we grew cress from a dish with cotton wool and water. If this is possible do seeds actually need soil to grow in? This lead onto the main activity.

The boys filled pots with stones, wood chip, compost and rich soil, then placed carrot seeds into each pot to see if they would grow.

Again, the lesson plans provide extensions for class size, age and ability. The lesson was great as it gave us an opportunity to record more evidence later on!

Week 4

This week we continued to see and record seed growth.

The boys lost interest in their race to have the biggest plants but still recorded the growth. Instead their focus was on the seeds from the previous lesson and what environments promote growth.

Our first lot of carrots still haven’t grown and we understand it could be the soil that we used. Our environments lesson has shown success in the rich soil as some of those carrots seeds have sprouted.

This raised questions on how to continue the growth of our runner beans and lead us to plant these out in the garden.

While being busy with measuring and recording, we also took part in the next lesson: Using our senses. The lesson required the boys using their senses to explore different fruit and vegetables and record the results. The activity sheet was great but I decided to modify it for the boys.

We bought fruit from the local shop and started off looking and describing it. We did a blindfolded smell test, then cut the fruit up to taste.

The different textures and use of vocabulary made this a fantastic lesson.

The boys reinforced the literacy element with their recording. They came up with unique ways to describe what they were experiencing.

Overall summary

These last 4 weeks have been brilliant. We have seen growth and change, investigated how environment is key to growth and found fun and engaging ways to eat fruit.

This led to discussions about what to do next. William, being the budding chef, came up with some recipes he wants to make so we will fit this into our other ongoing lessons." We will also be trying some of fellow Sow and Grow ambassador, Emily Leary’s recipes which can be found here.

innocent and GIY have shown their ability to produce fantastic lesson that engage children. By working closely with teachers and educational specialists they have developed detailed lesson plans for use throughout the primary years. Each plan highlights all the national curriculum subjects it can cover.

Importantly, their aim to have children learn more about where food and healthy alternatives come from is working well and the boys and I can’t wait to see what is next

Is your school signed up? If so then upload your photos at to be in with the chance to win monthly prizes from innocent and see your classroom crowned as Sow & Grow champions!

Following the repackage of innocent kids drinks, consumers can also win seed packs by following the instructions on pack. Available nationwide now in most major supermarkets. Good luck!

(This is a collaboration with Innocent and GIY. My opinions are my own and I am under no obligations to give a positive review! Please see my full disclosure at the bottom of my blog)

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