Cotton Bolls

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Classroom kit:
Includes enough materials for 30 students.
Cotton Bolls

Grade K-12 (Kit) 

Help your students understand how the fiber in their clothing, towels, and sheets comes from cotton plants. The seeds must be removed from the cotton fibers to make cloth. This process is called ginning (after Eli Whitney's cotton gin; gin is short for engine). The cotton bolls in this kit may be hand ginned, or dissected, allowing students to experience the process of hand ginning, understand the significance of the cotton gin, and explain how machines help us today to be more productive. Each set contains 30 individually wrapped cotton bolls. Each cotton boll can easily be pulled apart into four distinct sections so that a group of four students may use one cotton boll.

Teacher Note: The purpose of this activity is to investigate cotton, the process of hand ginning cotton, and the impacts of the cotton gin. Adjusting this investigation into a role-play or simulation of a slave activity is absolutely discouraged. In addition, no student should be required to participate in hand ginning cotton. We recommend consulting your administrator and/or communicating with parents prior to presenting this lesson. You may want to consider ginning as a teacher demonstration if you anticipate tension or uncomfortable feelings. For more information concerning teaching about the history of African Enslavement, refer to research conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center Teaching Hard History: American Slavery.

View Cotton Ginning Tutorial on YouTube

Lesson plans associated with this kit can be found on the National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix.

19 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5
    Cotton Balls

    Posted by Elisabeth Brandenburg on Jan 19th 2024

    Easy to order. Fast deliver! Very pleased!

  • 5
    Cotton bolls

    Posted by T Walsh on Apr 20th 2023

    Excellent for use in the classroom. Reasonably priced, ships quickly, individually packaged.

  • 5
    Product was packaged well and of a good size for students to study easily.

    Posted by Deb Heilman on Apr 7th 2023

    I use these every year for fifth grade Social Studies. Students are able to understand the work involved with cleaning cotton, as well as what a cotton boll is.