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.

16 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 4
    White Gold Bolls

    Posted by Jasper Lee on Sep 12th 2022

    The cotton bolls I received are of good quality and perfect for a presentation I am making to a group of retired adults.

  • 5
    Wonderful Product!

    Posted by Emily Peery on Feb 9th 2022

    I loved this product for my 5th grade class. We looked at the cotton when learning about the cotton gin. It was shipped promptly and packaged securely. I will be ordering again.

  • 5
    Cotton Bolls

    Posted by Alexander on Dec 6th 2021

    Great in class hands on product. My students enjoyed using the product. It came in great condition. It was individually pre-package which made for easy distribution and clean up.