We have sunflowers growing almost all year long at OAS and they are a perfect jumping off plant for a number of lessons. There are also a lot of books, stories, poems and art based on sunflowers to provide further inspiration. My favorite books are Camille and the Sunflowers (story of Van Gogh) and Sunflower Sal. The poem And a Sunflower Grew, by Aileen Fisher is a perfect short piece to read at the beginning of a lesson.They are perfect for teaching life cycles. The k/1 classes wandered around the garden looking for and finding all the stages. This lesson ended with everyone planting a seed.
They are perfect for practicing counting and multiplication. A 2nd grade class worked in teams separating seeds from the heads and counting them by 10’s using an egg carton. You could do this using any multiples.
They are perfect for measuring. The seeds are small and the full grown plant, very tall.
They are perfect for creating art. Another k/1 class first studied and sketched a sunflower onto watercolor paper, then painted and used oil pastels to outline the flower. The results were amazing and went up in our Kitchen Garden Art Gallery.
Another fun thing to do with sunflowers is snack on the seeds (in the shell and out, salted and not, raw and roasted), spread sunflower butter on crackers or celery, or roast your own seeds after collecting them. They are delicious and healthy.