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Talking to Plants

based on 15 ratings
Author: Crystal Beran

Grade Level: 3rd - 6th; Type: Biology

Objective:

To find out whether plants respond to human speech.

The purpose of this experiment is to learn whether talking to a plant will help it grow.

Research Questions:

  • How do plants communicate?
  • What types of plants communicate with each other?
  • What types of messages do plants send to each other?
  • How do vibrations affect plants?
  • Is it possible for plants to sense chemical messages sent by other creatures?
  • Do humans communicate through chemical signals as well?

Many people talk to their plants while they water them. Usually, people who talk to their plants believe that plants can pick up on their good intentions. This is a relatively common practice, as human beings tend to anthropomorphize, or give human qualities to non-human life forms or objects. While there is no evidence to suggest that plants respond to affection, some plants do have a limited ability to communicate with one another. Though plants lack the ability to receive and process sound waves, evidence suggests that some plants can communicate with each other through the use of chemical signals. Additionally, vibrations that travel through the soil or in the air may have an effect on plant growth. It may be possible for plants to pick up on the vibrations created by human speech and maybe even by the chemical signals that humans release without knowing it.

Materials:

  • Seeds (bean seeds work well because they grow quickly and are hardy)
  • Containers
  • Potting soil
  • Water

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Label one of the containers “control.”

  2. Label one of the containers “kind words.”

  3. (optional) Label one of the containers “neutral words.”

  4. (optional) Label one of the containers “angry words.”

  5. Plant three seeds in each container, following the package directions as to planting depth and spacing.

  6. Place each of the containers outdoors (if it’s warm out) or in a sunny window (if it’s cold).

  7. Water the plants.

  8. Take one of the containers into a separate room.

  9. Talk to the plant for 15 minutes.

  10. Water the plant.

  11. Move the plant back to its window.

  12. Repeat steps 8-11 with any other experimental plants you may have.

  13. In order to subject the control plant to the same variables, move it into the other room for the same amount of time but do not talk to it.

  14. Each day, record plant growth (height and number of leaves) on a chart such as the ones below.

PLANT GROWTH CHART
 
HEIGHT
Control 1
Control 2
Control 3
Kind 1
Kind 2
Kind 3
Day 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLANT GROWTH CHART

NUMBER OF LEAVES
Control 1
Control 2
Control 3
Kind 1
Kind 2
Kind 3
Day 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terms/Concepts: Chemical signals; Sound waves; Anthropomorphize; Growth; Germinate; Communication; Intelligence

References:

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