A Green Thumb in a Virtual World


Did you elect to receive Adventure Tools? If so, check your mailboxes this week! Mae Merriweather is sending Brain Chase participants some seeds to plant in the hopes of discovering a critical secret message. It’s time for the students to log off and get their hands dirty – literally – to tackle this week’s Bonus Challenge.

If your students are anything like our children, planting seeds might be a relatively new experience. We’ve moved several times, and we’ve often lived near a city, so planting a garden has remained a largely unfulfilled dream of ours. But research shows that getting in touch with plants can be helpful developmentally for students of all ages, and regardless of your individual circumstances, there are always ways to further develop your green thumb. Here are a few ideas for botanical enrichment under any circumstances:

  • Start small – Who says you need an acre of land to grow a few plants? Here’s a great blog on starting a garden with just a window sill. I think our family is out of excuses now.
  • Ask some discovery-driven questions – Why do leaves change color in the fall? Can plants grow in space? How does photosynthesis really work? Pose some interesting botanical questions to your students, then turn them loose to track down the answer and present their findings. If you’re lucky, these discussions can spur other interesting questions, and the cycle can continue.
  • Test yourself – Think you’re a master planter? Try your hand at this short quiz from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. Can you outscore your friends? Can you follow the links to correct the answers you missed?
  • Play a game – Click here, here, or here for some fun online games related to botany. Find any other games or simulations that have been helpful? Let us know!
  • Plant a classroom garden – Some of you might have access to more land than just a window sill. Here are some great tips for creating a garden and managing it as an entire class.

Are there any projects we’ve missed? What ideas do you have for developing a student’s green thumb? Let us know at

Good luck, and happy planting!