Garden in a Bag

April 23, 2020


Every living organism on Earth needs some basic things in order to survive. The amount, way, form, or kind of these needs vary from organism to organism. Environment plays a large role in determining in what amount and in what way animals and plants need the following: water, food/nutrients, sunlight, air, a habitat with the right temperature, shelter, and sunlight.

Grade Level: K-3rd

Topics: Biology

Process Skills: Problem Solving – Critical Thinking – Communication – Collaboration – Creativity

Supplies & Amount Needed

  • Ziploc bags - 1

  • Paper towels - 1

  • Water source - Just a little to wet the towel

  • Beans (any bean will do) - 1


  1. Plants are also living things, but they are different than animals. What do you think plants need to survive? Some of the needs are the same as animals (food/nutrients, sunlight, air, and space to grow).

  2. Make a garden in a bag. Get a Ziploc bag, a paper towel, and a dry bean (such as a lima bean).

  3. Dampen the paper towel in the sink (you don’t want it dripping wet), fold it up, and put it in their Ziploc bag.

  4. Now, place the dry bean on the paper towel, inside the bag. You should still be able to see the bean.

  5. Seal the bag tightly.

  6. What will this bean need to grow? Does it have water? Space? Air? Yes – the paper towel is damp, there is air inside the bag, and there is enough space in the bag for the bean to sprout.

  7. How could we get the bean sunlight? Tape the bags on a window where there is sunlight and warmth.

  8. Observe your bean over the next few days. It might start to sprout because you provided what it needed to live!

  9. Once the sprout is about ½ to 1 inch, find a pot, add dirt, plant the seed (leave the sprout part a little out of the dirt), and watch it grow.


Discuss Animal Needs

What are some animals you know? People are animals, too! What do animals need to survive? Animals need five things in order to survive: food, water, shelter, oxygen/air, and a place to live that meets their needs. Show students pictures of each of these needs, taping or magnetizing them to the black/whiteboard.

Discuss Animal Environments

Animals live in environments. An environment is the place where an animal lives and includes plants, animals, air, lakes, rivers, trees, etc. An animal has to live in an environment that gives them food, water, oxygen/air, shelter, and the right temperature and space to be able to live.

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