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The Effects of Freezing on Plant Life

based on 8 ratings
Author: Crystal Beran

Grade Level: 4th - 7th; Type: Life Science

Objective

To find out whether plants can survive being frozen.

The purpose of this experiment is to expose plants to freezing temperatures at various stages of their development. The plants will then be evaluated against a control specimen to find out if the freezing affected them.

Research Questions

  • Which common species of garden plants can survive being frozen?
  • Which common species of garden plants die during a freeze?
  • How do plants survive being frozen?
  • Why do many species of plant germinate in the spring?

Many species of plant must survive harsh temperatures during winter months. Plant species native to cold climates have developed strategies to survive through long periods of freezing temperatures. Though many plants germinate in the spring, once the winter has ended, a late frost can occur. Some plants have developed adaptations to deal with this scenario. Knowing how freezing temperatures affect plants can help farmers know when they need to protect their crops and when the adaptations of the plant are sufficient for it to protect itself.

Materials:

  • Pea seeds
  • Potting soil
  • 9 Potting containers
  • Water
  • A freezer

Seeds and planting supplies can be purchased at your local hardware store or plant nursery.

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Fill the potting containers with soil.
  2. Plant three seeds in each container.
  3. Label each of the containers. The labels should be as follows: control, day 1 (1 hour), day 1 (5 hours), day 3 (1 hour), day 3 (5 hours), day 7 (1 hour), day 7 (5 hours), day 14 (1 hour), day 14 (5 hours).
  4. Record growth information daily on a chart such as the one below.
  5. Water plants daily.
  6. Once the plants are potted, place the two “Day 1” plants in the freezer.
  7. Take “Day 1 (1 hour)” out after one hour.
  8. Take “Day 1 (5 hours)” out after five hours.
  9. On the third day, place the two “Day 3” containers in the freezer.
  10. Take “Day 3 (1 hour)” out after one hour.
  11. Take “Day 3 (5 hours)” out after five hours.
  12. On the seventh day, place the two “Day 7” containers in the freezer.
  13. Take “Day 7 (1 hour)” out after one hour.
  14. Take “Day 7 (5 hours)” out after five hours.
  15. On the fourteenth day, place the two “Day 14” containers in the freezer.
  16. Take “Day 14 (1 hour)” out after one hour.
  17. Take “Day 14 (5 hours)” out after five hours.
  18. Compare growth results between the different plants for the duration of the experiment. If you have time, observe the plants through fruiting and record how many peas each plant produces. 
Week 1
 
 

Height on Day 1

Height on Day 2

Height on Day 3

Height on Day 4

Height on Day 5

Height on Day 6

Height on Day 7

Control 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Control 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Control 3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 1
(1 hour) 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 1
(1 hour) 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 1
(1 hour) 3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 1
(5 hours) 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 1
(5 hours) 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 1
(5 hours) 3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 3
(1 hour) 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 3
(1 hour) 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 3
(1 hour) 3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 3
(5 hours) 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 3
(5 hours) 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 3
(5 hours) 3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 7
(1 hour) 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 7
(1 hour) 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 7
(1 hour) 3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 7
(5 hours) 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 7
(5 hours) 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 7
(5 hours) 3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 14
(1 hour) 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 14
(1 hour) 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 14
(1 hour) 3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 14
(5 hours) 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 14
(5 hours) 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 14
(5 hours) 3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Terms/Concepts: Germinate; Adaptation; Freezing temperature; Zone (in gardening)

References:

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