Math: Queen Anne's
Lace Seed-Saving Multiplication
Small paper sacks |
Scissors or clippers
One Queen Anne's Lace
seedhead per student
(gather in late fall
or early spring, when brown)
White napkin or paper
towel section per student | scratch paper and pencil
and plugs, or a spot outside to plant seeds
late fall or early spring, if you know a roadside lane or meadow where there
are lots of Queen Anne's Lace wildflowers growing, give each student a paper
sack, and go out and collect one of these distinctive seedheads for each
student. They will be brown, but will bear this basic shape:
Queen Anne's Lace . . . wild carrot with gorgeous white
you get back, working inside - out of the wind! - each child can inspect his or
her seedhead and estimate on the scratch paper how many seeds it probably
"It looks like a Dr. Seuss tree!"
each student can crush the seedhead carefully, over the white napkin or paper
towel, and discover the tiny seeds. Carefully remove the chaff, and line up the
seeds in rows of five over to the side.
multiply. If you have four rows of five seeds, with three left over, how many
seeds do you have?
say the student's seedhead contained 23 seeds. Now let's show the
multiplication power of nature!
say that each of those 23 seeds grew next summer, and each of them produced
flowerheads that also produced 23 seeds. So by this time next year, you should
have 23 times 23 seeds, which equals . . . ??? (Do the multiplication problem
on the scratch paper.)
the following year, let's say all THOSE seeds grew up into flowers, each of
which produced 23 seeds. NOW how many seeds do you have? (Recompute)
student's result will be different, since each student's flowerhead probably
will produce a different number of seeds.
around the room, and have every student give his or her ending figure.
that . . . from one little speck the size of the period at the end of this
have a place where the whole club can plant their seeds together, and do this
activity again next year, great. Otherwise, plant 2 or 3 seeds for each student
in a small pot (about 1/8" deep, mist the top and keep misted on a sunny
windowsill) to send home, and give away or share the rest.