Beanstalk blog

Using the instructions on the ‘Grow your own beanstalk’ page in this section why not try and grow your own in the classroom or at home. Below is an account of how we got on.

Day 1

Day 1, and our bean is in it’s jar and ready to go…










Day 5

It’s Day 5 already, and there’s still no sign of life in the jam jar.

We’re getting a bit worried, since our back-up beans have started to grow, but we’re keeping with it.







Day 7

Day 7, the bean has started to grow.








Day 8

Day 8, just 24 hours have passed and the bean has started to develop further.








Day 11

Day 11, we had to add a little water as the bean was left unattended over the weekend. This is what we came back to.








Day 12

Day 12, there appear to be no ill effects after the water shortage over the weekend. You can see while our bean hasn’t grown in height it has made lots of new roots. Of course this would normally happen underground.

The bean does not need soil at the moment. Where do you think it is getting its food from? Do you know/can you find out what it is called when plants are grown without soil?

The picture on the right shows the first measurement taken of the bean and its roots.





Day 13

Day 13, the roots are really starting to grow now.

Remember, you can click on all the images in this blog to view a larger version.







Day 14

Exciting developments today!

Our bean is reaching for the skies, and overnight a shoot and leaf have emerged. In just 24 hours a 4cm beanstalk has grown.

How are yours doing?


Stop press!

In less than 8 hours our beanstalk has grown another 1.5cm. Look at the new photo!

Day 15

Day 15, the bean is breaking free!

We had concerns that the leaf would not be able to push through the paper to reach the top of the jar but it managed to come through with no problems.







Day 18

Day 18, last week the bean seemed to be changing almost every hour so I was wondering what it would look like today as we had to leave it unattended over the weekend. As you can see, it has grown significantly.

Although we had added some more water before we left, almost none was left at the bottom of the jar today.

The leafs are really growing now.






Day 19

Day 19, at first glance I didn’t feel as if much had changed from yesterday, but having compared today’s picture with the previous one, I can see that a third leaf has started to develop and that the roots are really filling the bottom of the jar now.








Day 20

Day 20, some more water was needed this morning as it was nearly all gone. We have been adding roughly three centimetres of water or just enough so it is below the bean.

As you can see from the close up picture on the right, the height of the stalk has now out grown the ruler!







Day 21

Day 21, and it may soon be time to move the bean to a bigger jar as the roots are getting a bit squashed in the jam jar.

The height now exceeds the frame of the picture. The stalk at the base of the bean is now very strong and just under a centimetre in width.





Our bean really is too squashed in the jam jar now, so we’ve taken the decision to move it to bigger accommodation. We’ve got a small flowerpot, and taken the bean out of the jar very carefully. We’ve then put it in the pot with some soil in it, and given it lots of water. It’s now 65 cm high! How high are yours?






Day 22

Day 22, the bean has grown another few centimetres since yesterday. As the bank holiday weekend is approaching, we will add a little more water to make sure there is enough over the next few days.








Day 26

Day 26, after three days unattended, the height has once again exceeded the framing we set up for the pictures. The picture on the right shows the top of the stalk.

How tall are yours growing?







Day 27

Day 27, the bean has grown a further ten centimetres in the last 24 hours and some of the leaves in the middle of the stalk have grown larger.







Day 28

The leaves are still growing, and the bean has very nearly outgrown its windowsill home.

We think it might be nearly time to transplant it outside…







Day 29

Day 29, the bean is continuing to make its bid for freedom as it continues to grow.

How do yours differ? Do they have more leaves? Are they taller?







Day 30

The bean has finally outgrown our windowsill, and has had to move home…

We’ve just put it in a large pot outside, and will keep it watered. We’ll let you know how we get on.

Have you had to move yours yet?







Day 32

The bean has settled in to its new home well.

We’re keeping it watered, but otherwise it seems quite happy.








Day 34

The bean is growing well, and is slowly climbing up the drainpipe. Look at the photo on the right!









Day 36

The bean is still growing. We haven’t measured it, but perhaps we could estimate the height.

The doors you see in the background are about 2 metres high, and the step is about another 25 cm. That’s 225 cm.

We think it looks about two-thirds of the way up the doors. so, two-thirds of 225 is 150. So, we’re estimating the bean has now climbed 1metre 50 cm high.

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Grow your own beanstalk

You will need:

  • A glass jar/or clear plastic beaker
  • Some stiff paper or card
  • Beans (runner beans or broad beans are large, easy to see and easy to handle
  • Some water

What to do:

Roll the paper into a tube shape
Push one end of the tube into the jar
Push a bean down the inside of the jar but outside of the paper so that it stops about half way down
Pour a drop of water into the middle of the tube
Stand the jar on a window sill or in a similar place where it can get lots of light

Check on the progress of your bean at regular intervals. Don’t forget to keep topping up with water every few days

Take photographs regularly. You could send them to us – don’t forget to include something to show how big your bean is (maybe a ruler) and let us know how many days it has been growing. Or why not create a bean blog like us.

Try making a number of beans grow at the same time. Start them off together but give them slightly different conditions in which to grow.

Does the bean grow as well if:

  • You don’t add water to the jar?
  • You keep the jar out of the sun?
  • You cover the jar with a cereal box or similar?
  • You cover the jar with a cereal box with a small hole in the top?
  • You keep the jar in a fridge?

Why do you think that might be?

Can you encourage your bean to grow faster, or stop it growing so quickly?

Try charting your bean’s growth by recording the results on a graph or in a table. Measure the growth in centimetres and millimetres on a daily or weekly basis.

Can you identify when your bean grows most in its life (at the beginning or at the end?)

What is the biggest amount that your bean grows in one period?

Click here to look at our bean blog. If you send us a picture we can include it. Is your bean growing better than anyone else’s in the city?

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Jumping Jack

How to Make Your Jumping Jack

A Jumping Jack is an old toy that has been a part of many cultures throughout the world since the seventeenth century (a very long time ago!). Traditionally these puppets were characters from the Italian dell’arte which was a genre of improvisational theatre from the Renaissance and Baroque period in Italy. We have played with the name of the toy and invented our own Jumping character – A Jumping Jack!


Click on the image below to access a downloadable version of Jack and print onto A4 card or stiff paper.

What you need:

  • Sharp scissors
  • Heavy thread or string
  • A large needle
  • Small brass paper fasteners

Step 1) Cut out all of Jack’s body parts (his head and body is one piece!)  as neatly as you can.

Step 2) Pierce holes using your needle through all of the crosses at the tops of Jack’s arms and legs and one at the top for his hanging string: You might need to wiggle the needle a little to create a bigger hole for the string to pass through.

Step 3) Look at the letters in order to match up each dot and push your paper fastener through to join Jack’s body together! (Again you might want to use your needle first to make a hole). Use your spacer between the two parts so that there is enough room for Jack’s arms and legs to move when you are finished!

Stringing Jack:

To string Jack (this is the hardest part!) follow these steps;

Step 1) Make sure Jack’s arms are down by his side behind his body. Push a threaded needle into the hole at the top of one of Jack’s arms and tie securely and bring it across to the arm on the other side in order to do the same. This string should be taut when the arms are hanging down. Then you can cut off any excess string.

Step 2) String Jack’s legs in the same way as you have done his arms, making sure that the string is taut.

Step 3) With the arms and legs hanging straight down and the strings taut, attach a new piece of string from the centre of the string between Jack’s arms to the centre of the string between Jack’s legs, leaving a longer dangly piece of string to pull on: This will be the control string.

Step 4) Pull on the string and see Jack’s arms and legs move! When the string is let go Jack’s arms and legs should fall back down easily.

Hint: If you find that your control string doesn’t work, simply try stringing him again. It’s a difficult thing to do but after you have had some practice you should find it much easier!

Step 5) Once you are happy with your Jumping Jack attach another piece of string through the hole you made earlier at the top of his head so that you might hang him up on your wall. You might also want to add a bead or something similar to the bottom of your control string to make it easier to grasp.

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