Lesson Plans >
Biology > Gifts
This is the first in a series
of lesson plans that can be also be used as great Mother's Day gifts!
We will continue to bring you gift ideas right up until the big weekend
of May 9th!
From the T2T mailing list, Tracy writes: "I teach an intermediate
special education class, and we have done a lot of things with plants.
Some of the things we have tried to start are sweet potatoes (get organically
grown ones or they will rot). Avocados (then we made guacamole!). You
can sprout the tops of carrots, parsnips, beets, and turnips. We also
planted seeds from lemons, oranges, and tangerines but they haven't come
up yet. We have made predictions, graphs, written descriptions, illustrations,
etc. and they love it!! The next thing we will be trying is flowers for
mother's day and tomatoes to take home and plant in their gardens! It
has been very messy, very educational, and extremely fun!"
Determine a budget first
Assume that the herb garden will reside indoors. You need to begin by
choosing the appropriate containers to plant in. As T2T "Tyguy"
suggests, "Try not to use more than 3 or 4 herbs and place them in
decorated small milk cartons." Milk cartons are obviously the least
expensive solution as they are FREE! Again though, contact your local
nursery or gardening center and tell them you are a teacher looking for
a donation. You will need containers to plant in, potting mix, fertilizer
(such as Miracle-Gro), seeds and sphagnum moss. Even Wal-Mart has a garden
center and they always seem very willing to help out the local community.
Choosing the herbs
There are a few "old standbys" that are always good bets
for any herb garden. Anything you use on a day-to-day basis works well,
because it means that Mom will actually have a need for the full-grown
plant. Parsley and thyme are both easy to grow and widely used. Basil,
rosemary, oregano, mint and other common herbs are also good choices.
(Although not an herb, tomatoes are also easy to grow and can be planted
outdoors once they are well established.)
Decorating for gifts
If you use milk cartons you will definitely want to do some decorating.
Because you want to avoid any kind of water-based markers or paints, consider
using permanent markers. If you have a little more time to spend on decorations,
you could also wrap a thick ribbon around the container to cover any printing,
then secure the end with a dab of hot glue. If you can get some scraps
from a fabric store, those can also be cut into squares, placed under
the carton and then gathered up the sides to create a sort of "basket"
effect as well. Secure with hot glue and a ribbon.
Planting the seeds
Plant one herb per container according to package directions. Very
small seeds need to be lightly pressed into the soil - it may not be necessary
to actually put dirt over them. Seeds should be kept moist until they
sprout. Cover the containers with plastic wrap until you see green, and
keep the sphagnum moss handy in case you have problems with mold. The
moss will absorb water from the surface and can quickly and easily eliminate
Now that Mom is receiving fresh herbs, she may need some suggestions
on how to cook with them. Below is a fantastic recipe that use 3 different
herbs. Use it to start a collection of your own from other faculty and
friends. Have students copy the recipes onto index cards and then decorate
with crayons or markers. Punch a hole in the corner of the index cards
and thread a ribbon through to make a book.
2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic
In a large bowl add yeast to water and let sit for 30 seconds. Add melted
butter, spices, buttermilk, salt and sugar. Gradually stir in flour and
knead for 8 minutes. If too wet add a little more flour. Grease large
bowl with a little butter and add dough. Cover and let rise in a warm
area until doubled (about 45 minutes). Fold dough over, punch down, and
knead 1 minute.
Preheat over to 375 degrees. Make 36 small balls about 1-inch each. Fill
greased muffin tins with 3 balls each. They will look like a cloverleaf.
Cover and let rise 1 hour. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 1 dozen.
I used to work as a Special Ed. Asst at a local high school.
One project we did for Mother's Day was to paint clay pots using acrylic
paint, brushes and pre-cut sponges. I had one student with Down's Syndrome
who painted and stamped a beautiful scene on the side of his pot. We,
then, planted marigolds in the pots for their moms. The clay pots are
relatively inexpensive and a pony pak of plants can be purchased for less
than $2 or so. It was a fun project!
Cindy Nielsen, Sevier County 4-H Assistant, Richfield, UT