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Here is a short article on using sunflowers in an elementary school classroom.
For California, we've added some ideas about how your sunflowers can be used to meet different life science standards. You can find links to our suggestions for here.
Things you can do across the curriculum
based on a project from Windy Mack at the National Treacher Training Institute
Literature: Read stories about sunflowers. Recommended books for k-4:
From Seed to Sunflower by Gerald Legg, Carolyn Scarace
Sam Plants a Sunflower by Kate Petty, Axel Scheffier
Sunflowers by Rebecca W. Atwater Briccetti
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
Sunflower by Miela Ford
The Sunflower Went Flop by Joy Cowley
Writing: Write stories/poems about sunflowers (e.g., If I were a sunflower). Students should keep a sunflower journal to write down notes about the growth and progress of the sunflowers they planted.
Math: Count sunflower seeds. Estimate how many sunflower seeds are in a bag. Predict how many seeds it takes to fill a bag. Measure and weigh sunflower seeds. Predict how long it will take for the seeds to sprout that were planted. Measure and record each week the height of the sunflowers that the students planted. Count how many petals are on each sunflower. Make sunflower seed patterns, shapes, and/or numbers.
Social Studies: Research how sunflower seeds get from sunflower farms to our homes. Research different ways sunflowers seeds are used. Research where sunflowers are grown. Research whom the first people were that discovered and used sunflower seeds. This research can be done as a class, at home with a parent or adult, or in the media center as a group with the assistance of the media specialist.
Health: Research the benefits people get from sunflower seeds. Are they healthy or unhealthy? How much fat or minerals do sunflower seeds contain? Research can be done as a class, at home with a parent or adult, or in the media center as a group with the assistance of the media specialist or physical education teacher.
Music: Use the pollination song to teach about Pollination
Art: Introduce students to Vincent Van Gogh by exploring the Vincent Van Gogh Information Gallery. See the art exercise below.
Look at sunflower paintings by Van Gogh. Have students make their own sunflower paintings. Create a sunflower seed collage.
Here are three 45 minute art lessons using sunflowers for K-4.
Technology: Explore Bluemountain.com to create sunflower greeting cards and e-mail them to friends/family.
Other lesson plans and resources
Van Gogh's birthday (March 30) by introducing his art through sunflowers.
Sunflower Sprout House
After reading Eve Bunting's story titled "Sunflower House", students plant seeds and chart their growth.
Use sunflowers to engage students in art while also integrating math and science.
Sunflower Lessons for ESL
(Half beginner to intermediate)
Use Sunflower art and gardening to teach English skills.
Kennedy Center's ArtsEdge uses Van Gogh’s sunflowers to focus on the parts of a flower, growing sunflowers in the classroom, and developing students' artistic impressions of sunflowers.
Kinderart Sunflower Art Lesson
Introduce students to different art styles and mediums as well as the many connections between art and culture.
The Sunflower Project
Art Curriculum for grades 8-12 that has 10 projects tied to Kansas state standards in science, social science, reading/writing/speaking and environmental studies. There is also an accompanying art curriculum for K-12. Here is the link.
Here is a great 50 minute sunflower lesson plan originally designed for 2nd graders in South Carolina
NAPPC has created a curriculum for grades 3-6 that can be found here.
Here's a site with lots of information about bees and wasps.
A honey bees project for 2nd graders can be found here.
Teaching about bees question sheet
Curriculum ideas for a pollinator garden
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