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Can New Plants Be Made Without Seeds?

based on 29 ratings
Author: Angela Pike

Grade Level: Upper elementary due to discussion of sexual/asexual reproduction; Type: Life Science

Objective: 

To explore plant growth from a bulb, root, and a stem. To investigate asexual plant reproduction.

Research Questions:

  • Can new plants be made without seeds?
  • How does plant reproduction occur?
  • What occurs in cell division?

Living things must reproduce for new life to form. Some living things reproduce sexually which requires two parents. Other living things reproduce asexually which only requires one parent. In all reproduction, cell division occurs meaning cells are constantly dividing making new cells. Plants reproduce asexually. You may think that all plant cell division starts from a seed but this is not true. Plant cell division can also begin from a bulb, a root, or a stem.   

Materials:

  • Flowering plant such as a geranium, mum, or marigold
  • Garlic bulb
  • Carrot, radish, or turnip
  • Gravel
  • Potting soil
  • Plastic cups
  • Pie tin
  • Water
  • Ruler

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Fill a plastic cup with water. Have an adult cut a small branch close to the stem from your flowering plant. Place this cutting in your cup of water.
  2. Place about 1 inch of gravel in the bottom of a plastic cup. Fill the remainder of the cup with moist potting soil.
  3. Pull a few sections of your garlic bulb apart. Plant two cloves about 1 ½ inches deep in the soil. 
  4. Fill a pie tin with water. Measure 1 inch from the top of your carrot, turnip, or radish. Have an adult cut this 1 inch section off the top for you. Place the cut side down in the water in the pie tin.
  5. Predict what you think will happen to each plant part. Record your predictions on a chart. (See sample below.)
  6. Observe the plant parts for a week, making sure that each part has water. (Note: Keep garlic bulb soil moist but not too wet.) Draw what you see happening to your plant parts every two days. Record your drawings on an observation chart. (See sample below.) 
  7. After completing your observations, what do you think? “Can new plants be made without seeds?” 
Sample chart:
 
 
Flower cutting
Garlic bulb
Vegetable top
Prediction
 
 
 
Observation 1 drawing
 
 
 
Observation 2 drawing
 
 
 
Observation 3 drawing
 
 
 
 

Terms/Concepts: Cell division; Asexual reproduction; Structure of a plant bulb; Structure of a plant root; Structure of a plant stem

References:

    1. http://kidport.com/RefLib/Science/HowPlantsGrow/HowPlantsGrow.htm
    2. http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/A/AsexualReproduction.html
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