Springtime is a great time to get out and get planting. And, sunflowers are the perfect flower to grow with kids, as not only are they easy and inexpensive to grow, but they can teach so many important lessons as well.
Helpful Tips for Growing Sunflowers:
- Sunflower seeds germinate in about 10-14 days and bloom within two months of germination.
- They need lots of direct sunlight and protection from wind.
- Plant sunflowers in the spring after the danger of frost has passed.
- Water often, especially at the beginning.
Take a look below at some fun, easy, and frugal math lessons using sunflowers that you can try in your own home.
5 Math Lessons Using Sunflowers
Before you plant your sunflower seeds, make estimations about how tall you think the plant will get. Write your estimations down on paper and store them in a safe place for future reference! You can even have a contest amongst children to see who gave the closest estimation.
As your sunflower grows, take a tape measure and measure its progress. It will be fun to see how fast or slow the flower grows from week to week. When the flower reaches maturity, you can even remove the head full of seeds and weight it to see how heavy it is.
3. Charting/Record Keeping
As you measure your sunflower, make a chart to mark how much it grows each day or week. Write down your measurements along with the date and any factors that may have effected growth such as rain or drought. Keep a journal of these statistics.
Once you have a few weeks worth of record keeping, create a graph to show how much the sunflower grew each day or week. You will be able to pin point then when the sunflower had a growth spurt (if any) or what conditions were most favorable to its growth.
Counting will surely come in handy when your sunflower is ready to be harvested. Count all of the seeds it provided and add the total number of inches it grew. You can also add the rainfall for the season, average daily temperature, or other important data.
See how easy it can be to turn something as simple as growing a sunflower into some easy yet real life examples of how we use math every day?
If you use seeds for the classic sunflower (the variety that grow 6-12 feet tall) then you can harvest the seeds and enjoy them in the following recipes:
- Bean Salad
- Homemade Pumpkin Spiced Granola
- Homemade Crunchy Salad Topping (use instead of croutons for a healthier crunch on your salad)
Another way Sunflowers can be used in math: Since Sunflowers are “Dicots” or dicotyledons, meaning they have seeds with two cotyledons or halves (easily seen when you split their seeds), they also have flower parts (petals, seeds) that grow in multiples of 4 or 5. So budding young botanists can also count the petals and eventually seeds to see if they follow this expected pattern 🙂
Toni Anderson says
That’s super helpful! Thanks for sharing!
Jane Plant says
Hi, I am an ex home-schooler, now teaching 10 kids with special needs, 9-13 years old, mostly with autism, some great at maths, some not. We have 17 sunflowers in our school plot, all ready to harvest and count the seeds. I was thinking it would be fun for them just to pick the seeds out, guess how many there are, and see how many there really are, and leave them to their own devices as to how they count. I think in the end they’ll come up with the idea of putting them in batches.is this a valid lesson?