It’s time to spill the beans…

We planted bean plants back in September, but as we approach Spring, many teachers are teaching the plant life cycle and parts of a plants now, so I thought I’d share the method I used, so maybe you can use it too! Many of you have probably planted beans in zip-lock bags at one time or another. It’s a great way to do it- doesn’t take up much space and they grow really quickly. I did this when I was in school! But, our class didn’t use zip-lock bags…

Grow lima beans in a CD case! Find out how at

We used CD cases! We collected about 12 CD cases so that there would be enough for everyone to share with a partner. Then we used potting soil to plant our beans.

Day One:

Grow beans in a CD case! Find out how at

Watering the bean:

Grow beans in a CD case! Find out how at

Watching it grow!

Grow beans in a CD case! Find out how at

Measuring its growth:

Grow beans in a CD case! Find out how at

Recording observations:

Grow beans in a CD case! Find out how at

Labeling the parts of the plant:

Grow beans in a CD case! Find out how at


Grow beans in a CD case! Find out how at


  • Any old bean should do, but lima beans are most commonly used. Just a bag from the grocery store should do!
  • The hinges of the CD case should be at the top. That way you can stand them up and dirt won’t fall out. Also this leaves a nice hole at the top for watering the plants with droppers. I had to borrow our droppers, but here is a pack of 100 for just over $5!
  • Plant your bean high in the soil. If you plant it toward the bottom the roots will grow out the bottom!
  • Tape the bottom shut. This will keep roots from growing out the bottom, and curious fingers from opening the case.
  • Use masking tape and permanent markers to label whose plant is whose.
  • Around day 5 or so I untaped the cases overnight so that they could have a little bit of space to grow. I taped them back in the morning. By day 7 or so, you will be ready to label your plants. We used paint pens.
  • Plant your bean with the concave side down. It should resemble the letter “n,” not the letter “u.” I didn’t tell my kids this. I just let them discover it… which was a nice learning experience. Just depends on which way you’d rather teach it.

To record our observations we used this sheet from Green Education Foundation.

Growth of Beans Recording Sheet

Happy planting!

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  1. What a brilliant idea!

  2. Love the cd cases great idea!

  3. I really like this idea, and they look so pretty lined up in the window. A couple of friends and I want to start homeschooling our preschoolers and this seems like a wonderful idea, much nicer than the plastic baggies.

  4. omg! i have got to try this with my kids. ok, time for the stupid question. where’d you get the beans? are they just dried beans from the grocery store? like a lima bean or something? thank you so much for sharing this idea!

  5. You’re amazing! This is such a great idea. I’m pinning it and using it with my boys next year when we do our plant unit study. Thanks!

  6. Were these dried lima beans? Last year I had a huge problem with the beans rotting instead of growing! Maybe I watered them too much!

  7. How often do you have to water it?

    • We tried to water ours every day, but some days we didn’t get around to it and of course we didn’t water them on the weekends. And we were using tiny water droplets, so I’d let each group water theirs for a couple of minutes and then rotate. That kind of gives you an idea of how much water we used. Sorry it’s not more black and white!

  8. This is a wonderful idea!! I am going to suggest it to my Cub Scouts :)
    thank you for sharing!

  9. very cool

  10. I’m going to share this with the first grade team at my school, they do a planting unit each spring! I know they will love this idea. Teachers need to share more great ideas like this one, thanks so much!
    St. Charles, IL

  11. Lisa McG. says:

    These are really great! Much better than ziploc bags. I wonder if a ribbon could be strung through the hinge so they could be hung…

  12. Reblogged this on Central Florida Nannies and commented:
    A great idea from 2busybrunettes to teach children about plant life.

  13. I’m so eager to use this idea in conjunction with a science experiment we are doing with our Classical Conversations kids. Thank you SO much for sharing!

  14. Thanks for this idea!

  15. Very nice idea! I want to plant a lemon. Let’s see what’s gonna happen! :)

  16. Lori TenHaken says:

    Thank you! Wonderful idea! We did this with some of our CC friends today…Looking forward to seeing the progress of the plant.

  17. Rachna Mehta says:

    amazing idea , will surely try in my kindergarten

  18. To water the bean, did you just sort of stick the eye dropper into the edge of the CD case?

  19. How come your cd cases don’t have the center spot in them that like you clip the cd into? I figure when I go to look for CD cases today they will probably have that in them, and I don’t think it will look as cool.

  20. Rosa Gandara says:

    Love it can’t wait to try this!

  21. Wonderful idea! It sure beats taping the plastic bags to the window:) Will certainly add it to my workshop “must shares” list! Thanks for sharing.

  22. im doing ur idea for my science fair project

  23. Brilliant idea. I have pinned a lot of your ideas. Excited to try it with my sixth graders.

  24. great! can i put the pictures and text on my website off course with referral to you?

  25. Giovanna says:

    Sono una insegnante di scuola dell’infanzia , con i miei bambini di 5 anni abbiamo provato questo esperimento veramente originale! Spero di vedere i fagioli germogliare e crescere. Grazie di cuore!

  26. I LOVE this!!! Totally teaching this next week with my kinders! :)

  27. Could you use flower seeds and do you think these could be easily transplanted to clay pots for mothers day?

  28. What a great idea!! Can’t wait to try it with my toddlers

  29. What a great idea! Is it okay if I use one or two of these pictures on my website? I’ve already put in a link back to here and brief description, but I figured I should ask before I use your pictures.

  30. Karen E. says:

    Love this idea. I would love to try it with sweet pea seeds and or sugar snaps! Could I take them out of the cd and eventually plant them into a bigger place?

    • 2busybrunettes says:

      Yes, you may! In fact that is exactly what we did when the plants outgrew their cd home. And the kids were able to put into practice a vocabulary word: transplant.

  31. This is a wonderful idea. How do you plant the bean, do you open the cd flat and put the dirt in and seed then close it and tape it?

    • 2busybrunettes says:

      Yep, that’s exactly how you do it!

      • I am on day 5 of this project with my (3) second grade classes…60 kids in total….i used pumpkin seeds from a few fall pumpkins…each child planted 3 seeds in the cd case…they are growing CRAZY! the kids are wild about the roots they see and just the mere sight of the cycle…Any suggestions on where or what to plant them in for the winter..I want to do the complete cycle with them and at least reach the flowering stage…but I grew pumpkins at home last year and had to self pollinate….has anyone gotten past the seedling…flower…stage? suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  32. I did this recently with my group….such a fab idea. But had just one wee comment, not all our CD cases stood up alone…..I had to tape some to a tray, and prop others up against things.
    I was initially unsure if they would grow…thankfully they did, and new developments happened each day…the kids were buzzing. Amazing that they grew at different rates too. Thanks for the inspiration….it was such a hit.

  33. kelsey owens says:

    I have a science fair project and I am doing your idea, but I need help. my question is what kind of lima beans fresh, frozen, dried? And how long was this process? I NEED to know as soon as possible.

    • 2busybrunettes says:

      It doesn’t matter. Mine were not fresh and were packaged dry. The process takes about a week. Sorry I didn’t reply sooner!

  34. I’m going to try tis out with my yr1 class.
    Ms. Olivia Camilleri, Luqa Primary school, Malta xxx

  35. Brilliant idea to use old cd cases… love it

  36. What a terrific use of an old CD case! I am definitely pinning this to try with the kids this year!

  37. I came across this on the Pinterest web site. I have a Head Start classroom of 20 children and we are doing The Great Outdoors for our April unit. I am so excited to start this with my children next week! I have the cd cases, lima beans and potting soil. Now all I need is the eager children. Thank you for this! We will keep a photo diary of our project!

  38. Morning, love this idea but can’t see the photographs – have tried on two different computers – is it just me or are they not working at the moment?

  39. I did this activity a couple of years ago with my grade 4 class. I stood the CD cases up in a wire dish drainer in front of the windows. I made sure that I rotated the CD cases around so that all cases received ample sunlight. I will be doi8ng it again this year.

  40. can¨t see the pics! .(

  41. I love this idea and tried it last year with my 3rd graders. The beans just got moldy and didn’t grow. My teammates tried it too and had the same results. Any suggestions?

    • Oh no! Maybe you were over watering it? Could the seeds have been old? Not enough sun? Those are the only things I can think that may have caused that result.

  42. says:

    Very clever idea!

  43. I can’t wait to try this with my third graders. I bought a bag of dried lima beans for this. Question: did you soak the lima beans at all before planting them? Or did you just plant a dry bean straight from the bag? Thank you!

  44. Doreen Malbog says:

    Do you soak the beans over night first? I tried this last year and most of my beans molded.

  45. This is BRILLIANT !! Thankyou for sharing !!

  46. Omg! That’s the perfect answer to my girlie’s tons of questions. My daughter is four already and she’s very interested of what’s happening to the seeds when you put them in the soil, since she took part in our vegetable seed starting this spring. She was absolutely fascinated by the whole planting process and since then she’s drawing seeds and growing seeds and asks millions of questions every day. These CD cases are a great idea to show her what she wants to know about seeds and plants. Thank you sooo much!


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