Activity 5: Grow your own potato
This activity is about growing potatoes. You will need to prepare the seed potato a few weeks in advance to do the planting in this session. Information can be found on the Planting my potato factsheet, Growing my potato factsheet and Growing tips factsheet.
Did you know that you can take part in the Grow Your Own Potato scheme? Click here.
You will need:
- Seed potatoes and grow bags/tubs
- 1 x egg box
- Compost or soil
- Plastic gloves - hands must be washed thoroughly after handling potatoes and soil if gloves are not worn
- Watering can
Explain to the children that they will be planting a potato.
Question the children:
- What equipment will we need in order to plant a potato? Make a list.
- Can you explain exactly what you think we will need to do, step by step?
Look at the Growing my potato factsheet.
Discuss what is happening and ask the children about how they could do this when they plant their potatoes. Summarise what the potatoes need in order to grow well. Establish that the potato – tuber, is a seed.
Before you begin, establish who will be doing what part of the planting. Talk them through how they will use the equipment to plant their potatoes. This will vary depending on whether you have a school garden in which to grow them, or whether you will be growing them in the grow bags. Put them where you want them to be before you fill them. Allow the children to plant their potatoes.
Caution: if you are using buckets or grow bags, these will be quite heavy when filled with soil.
The How my potato grows worksheet – involves sketching how the potato plant looks at 3 week intervals. Talk through the worksheet with the children and explain that they will fill it in every 3 weeks.
Talk about what they will be drawing over the coming weeks. You may like them to do a sketch of the planted potato or you may wish to wait for the first 3 week interval before you begin. With those who may need more support, you could enlarge the worksheet and fill it in as a class.
Talk to the children about what they will have to do to care for their potatoes. Challenge them to decide how they will ensure their potatoes are cared for, e.g. a watering rota.
- Give each child a copy of the Potato journal booklet so that they can record the growing activity. There are other activity suggestions given, helping to consolidate learning.
- Get the children to measure the height of their potatoes at regular intervals over the coming weeks and create a graph.
- Ask the children to write a set of instructions to tell someone how to grow a potato.
- Grow a different type of plant which provides food, e.g. bean, cress. Compare how this plant and your potato plant grow. Use the potatoes and other plants worksheet 3 to compare two plants.
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