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Willapa Harbor Herald • Town Crier
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Students face many challenges with sunflower houses

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Monday, June 8, the Willapa Valley seventh grade class went out to Darlene Smith's farm for a yearly project that Willapa Valley students get to experience each year as part of Mr. Bannish's and Mr. Ege's science classes.

The projects are called Sunflower Houses and consist of sunflowers that are grown in a specific pattern. During class time students are given requirements for their design so that when the sunflowers grow to maturity, they create walls and hallways thus creating a sunflower house.

The program has been in existence for the past four years and gives the students an opportunity to exercise their math and science skills in a practical application with a proven result flourishing before their eyes.

The students first drafted their patterns or designs on a piece of graph paper in the classroom. The ratio being 1 square on paper equal to one square foot on a designated area of Holocmb Acres.

Other challenges the students faced were to calculate how many seeds they needed to use (going by the rule of two seeds per foot), and referencing their blue prints to find the best price in a number of seed catalogs. They also look at color based on type of sunflower flowers chosen. One of the choices is the Monet sunflower, which has the ability to change color during its growth. Once the students have completed and assembled all of their research and drafting into a folder, they present it to Smith, who then decides who gets to actually plot their design.

Not all designs are houses with walls, they can also do most any design, one of which is rumored to be a nod to the Seattle professional football team.

Now the students have moved into the next phase of the project, where they have plotted twine in the designated garden matching the scale with the classroom graphed designs. Some of the students graphed regular square houses, while others exercised their creative freedom, creating houses with star points jutting off in random places, or creating hallways that wrap around the inside of the structure to create a maze of sunflowers. The next step for the students is to watch their project grow.

In the next few weeks keep your eye on the Holcomb Farm as the flowers start to sprout and create a one of a kind design.

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