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The Poetry of Science

Doing Science at Home


  1. If you can plan ahead, bring an avocado or avocado pit as your poetry prop. Read the poem aloud and pass the avocado or pit around for students to examine. Or for visuals, facts, and more, go to Avocados From Mexico (Internet Resources).
  2. Read the poem aloud again and invite students to say the important last line together.
  3. Use this poem to talk about the parts of the avocado plant—fruit, peel, pit, roots, stem, leaves, tree. Then watch a time lapse video of an avocado pit growing (see Internet Resources for one example).
  4. Each stanza of the poem reports another stage in the avocado investigation. Challenge the students to work in pairs or trios to draw a picture for one stanza, then post all the pictures in order corresponding to the poem.
  5. For a poem about a classroom plant, look for “The Class Plant” by Janet Wong (see Internet Resources), or find the informational picture book Experiments With Plants by Christine Taylor-Butler (see Resources).
First Science Project

by Lesléa Newman

I ate the avocado
That we bought at the store,
And it was so delicious
I wished that I had more.

My mother cleaned the pit up,
And handed it to me.
“Get some toothpicks and we’ll grow
An avocado tree.”

We pierced the pit with toothpicks
And perched it on a glass,
Then filled the glass with water.
“Now watch what comes to pass.”

Soon some roots were dangling down,
Straggly, thin, and white.
Soon we saw a bright green stem
That reached up toward the light.

Soon the plant was growing leaves,
We welcomed every one.
Each leaf so green and shiny,
Unfurling towards the sun.

And when the plant grew bigger,
We planted it in dirt.
The next day it was taller,
An overnight growth spurt!

The plant grew even bigger,
Three feet from stem to root.
And though we watched and waited,
It never did bear fruit.

“It doesn’t really matter,”
My mother said to me.
“We still have something lovely:
An avocado tree!”

Poem © 2014 Lesléa Newman, used with permission from Curtis Brown, Ltd., from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong © 2014 Pomelo Books; illustration by Frank Ramspott from The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for Kids © 2015 Pomelo Books.


Taylor-Butler, C. 2011. Experiments with plants. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.


Avocados From Mexico

Lesléa Newman, Website of author

“The Class Plant” by Janet Wong

Time lapse video of an avocado pit growing


Newman, L. 2014. “First Science Project” in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, eds. S. Vardell and J. Wong, 94. Princeton, NJ: Pomelo Books


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