Project-based ELT (1): Grow something!

The idea for this project was suggested by trays of Supersprout Micro Greens (copyright MYOWS OW 65242) ( (if you’d like to order complete units instead of putting them together yourself, let us know. Available only in South Africa because of international plant product laws).

This project is suitable for:

–  young learners, teenagers, adults

–  level A1-A2 an be adapted for B1 by using the passive instead of imperative, for example)

–  small groups that will be together for at least three weeks


– following instructions

– learning and practising the imperative

– numbers, quantities and dimensions (size of tray, depth of growing medium. quantity of water and fertiliser) 

– plant-based vocabulary, food vocabulary

– adjectives and comparisons (onions grow HIGHER than coriander, mustard seeds are the SMALLEST etc)


You need:

– a shallow plastic tray and a plastic sheet or other thin, flat sheet to cover the top of the tray

– growing medium. Light soil will do, but something like coir would be better

– some – 5-10ml liquid fertiliser (optional, but better to have). Try compost tea or a commercially available organic product

– water

– about a small tablespoonful of seeds like fenugreek, beetroot, onion, mustard, coriander. All easily obtainable (try spice shops, the seeds are normally fresh and will germinate) and with distinctive tastes

INSTRUCTIONS (adapted from the SUPERSPROUT label, with the learning items in bold or italics)

Pour 350ml water with 5-10ml organic fertiliser into the tray. Add the growing medium (around 500ml) and mix well with the water. Flatten the surface neatly. Spread the seeds evenly over the growing medium and push them in lightly using a blunt object.

Water the seeds with a spray bottle (an old cleaning liquid bottle will do) and water the plastic sheet as well and place it wet side down on top of the tray. 

Leave the sheet on top until all the seeds have germinated and the sprouts push the sheet up. Remove it and expose the seeds to some sun and air. Place the tray in a warm spot, but not in direct sunlight.

Spray twice a day until the sprouts are 10-15 cm high. Use scissors to harvest, cutting just above the growing medium. Enjoy in salad or with sandwiches or other meals. 

This project takes about two weeks to complete and can become the focus of other language learning areas. 

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