Cotton Bolls

(15 reviews) Write a Review
in stock
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.

Approved for College & Career Awareness.

15 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5
    Cotton Bolls

    Posted by Alan LaFleur on Aug 20th 2021

    One of the stories in our 2nd grade reading program is about weaving. My students love learning about how fabric (our clothes) are made, and from what materials. They never imagined that many of the things they wear come from plants.

  • 5
    Cotton Bolls

    Posted by Carla on Mar 17th 2021

    I love the resource of the cotton bolls. Our class uses them to demonstrate how difficult it was to get all of the seeds out of the boll. We use it as a hands on learning activity when we study Civil War, Industrial Revolution and agriculture then and now. Thank you for making them available.

  • 5
    Cotton bolls

    Posted by Joanne K Frost on Feb 22nd 2021

    Kids love trying to get the seeds out!