From past experience planting seeds with third graders, I'm very well aware of Common Plant Misconception # 1: Standing by the plant table and staring at your sprout during snack clean-up helps speed the growing process.
Today, though, we unearthed two additional and perhaps equally widespread fallacies.
Common Plant Misconception # 2) Plants emerge, fully grown, from animals' butts.
Common Plant Misconception # 3) When a mommy seed and a daddy seed love each other very much, they mate and have a baby plant.
Today's botany lesson began with the observation and sketching of our Brassica sprouts. Known for good reason as "fast plants," our plants made a remarkable debut, shooting up from nothing over the course of a single weekend. Sketches that day were impressive. Now, though, a few days later, the plants haven't really changed all that much. Well--some are now rather limp from over-fondling, but other than that they've stalled a bit. Perhaps we need to do more staring during clean-up.
From today's anticlimactic observation, we moved on to reading about how seeds get from place to place. This topic is actually quite perfect for third graders, as it involves permission to talk about poop. Yes, we read about how animals eat fruit with seeds (which resulted in a rather excellent, X-ray style drawing by Nicole of some seeds chillin' in the belly of something furry) and then about how these seeds, well, let's just say they exit in the animals' waste and end up in the soil. Or--to put it another way, as Ernesto did when I asked him to paraphrase that section,
"The animal eats the seeds....and then poops out a plant!"
And thus we have Plant Misconception # 2. The kids and I all rather enjoyed picturing a squirrel pooping out a full-grown azalea.
Ernesto chuckled too and then corrected himself. Why, of course! Plants come not straight out of the derrières of animals, but from seeds! Those frisky, frisky seeds. Unless, of course, your seeds haven't been in the mood lately. DJ explained the reason why his cup was looking rather empty.
"I don't think my two seeds like each other. My plant's not growing!"
Now that we've got those two cleared up, our next lesson might center around Plant Misconception # 4: The names of plant parts and of feminine hygiene products are interchangeable.