Adults take it for granted that plants need sunlight and water to live and grow, however young children, to whom the world is still new, may yet be coming to an understanding and appreciation of this basic fact. This project is a vivid, concrete introduction to this important knowledge.
What do plants need to grow? What happens to a plant that does not have sunlight or water?
- Twelve small, easy and fast to grow plants in pots (bean plants work well). Really only four plants are necessary, but it’s good to have the extras in case one or two don’t make it for reasons outside of the experiment.
- Sharpie for labeling pots
- A sunny place
- A dark place (e.g. a closet)
- Water and watering container
- Paper and pencil/crayons for recording results
- Begin with 12 small, healthy plants. Divide them into four groups.
- Label the pots with words or simple pictures, three pots each: sun, water, sun and water, nothing (neither sun nor water).
- Keep the “sun” plants in the sunny spot; keep the others in the dark place.
- Water the “water” plants daily or as necessary for your climate. Do not water the others.
- Check on the plants daily and record your findings in a chart labeled with the date along the left and each of the four categories along the top. (Younger children may of course need help with this. Alternatively children may periodically make drawings of the plants that an adult can then post in a large wall chart.) Some observations you might make: What color are the plants? How tall are they? Are they getting new leaves? How do they feel (brittle, fleshy)?
- Continue the experiment for as long as is necessary/appropriate.