Seed packet literacy

To continue with my pea-brained ideas….

For Wednesday’s garden class, I had the class plant a bed of peas.  Before we went out to the garden, we talked about “how to read a seed packet.” I copied the front and back of a packet and added questions around the perimeter.  This was our opening activity.


Notice how the students have to look closely for the information in order to answer the question.  To answer the question on trellises, they have to notice the adjective “self-supporting.”  To know what days we should expect a pea, they have to find the “days to maturity.”

Then I gave each child a different seed packet.  (I have lots, obviously.)  I then asked them to form a line across the room, based on the name of their flower/vegetable, in alphabetical order. They had to talk to each other and shuffle themselves, A to Z.  When they were in place, I asked them to read off their seed name, to see if we got it right!  Then we did it again, according to “days to maturity” with one end of the spectrum being the shortest, the other the longest.  It was fun to compare radishes at one end with onions at the other.


At that point, we had to get planting, but you could keep going with this game, having the kids line up according to planting depth, Latin names, months to plant, etc.  Each one will demonstrate the different needs of plants as well as help kids look closely at all that information on a seed packet.

21 thoughts on “Seed packet literacy

    • I know you look at all the school garden material you can get your hands on, so I take this as a very high compliment. Glad it will be useful! I’ll send you one of the first autographed copies. 🙂

    • I’m glad! Take a look at the suggestion I made to “growing up in the garden” in the comments to this post. I added this step after I taught the lesson one time without it, and it worked much more smoothly with it added. Thanks so much for following!

  1. Great idea. I like that you required the students to apply the information (line order), not just find the information and write it down. It will be a small step now when the kids realize that the information on those packets will impact what they have to do to grow those vegs. successfully. I think there’s too much “click and drag” mentality in classrooms that sometimes winds up completely ignoring the content and meaning of the material being covered.

  2. Wow Tricia! That’s such a great way to get them engaged with understanding the seeds in the package as well as engaging with another around the topic. I love, love, love helping kids learn. Especially my own. Actually helping anyone to learn is a real joy. I’ll bet you would not trade what you do for anything in the world. Kudos!


    • Hey Joshua! Thanks for the lovely feedback. Gardening is hard work, as we all know, but when you work with kids who say “I loved doing this!” and “When can we do it again?”—-well, what teacher can resist those outcomes?

  3. Fun! I like the way you made the (I’m sorry) tedious-looking seed packet information into a fun and manageable activity (much like teaching someone how to create a blog!) Nice job, oh, creative one!!

  4. T,
    I think if you go back and take a look at the people that finished their peas you would find a Master Gardener. That’s my guess…

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