Science Project:

Garbage Plants

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The purpose of this experiment is to find out whether plants are able to get enough nutrients from different types of garbage to be able to grow.

  • What is the purpose of a plant’s roots?
  • What types of nutrients do plants need in order to survive?
  • How do farmers add these nutrients into the soil?
  • How is soil made?
  • Is all garbage full of nutrients?
  • How do plants create energy?

Unlike animals, most plants cannot get the nutrition they need from consuming other plants or animals. Instead, they collect energy from the sun and nutrients from the soil using their roots. Plants need many different vitamins and minerals in order to grow strong, just like humans and animals do. One of the most important things for plants is to grow is good soil, with lots of composted matter. But the quality of the soil around the world is diminishing and fertilizer must be added to it in order to keep the quality up. Learning about what types of matter plants grow best in can help farmers discover what they should put in compost piles when creating new soil to grow fruits and vegetables in.

  • Seeds (green bean seeds work well because they grow quickly and are hardy.)
  • 5 Containers
  • A marker
  • Potting soil
  • Shredded paper
  • Left over scraps of fruits and vegetables, such as orange or banana peels, apple cores, the ends of squashes or beans, etc.
  • The contents from a vacuum cleaner chamber or bag

  1. Label the containers, “Soil/Control,” “Paper,” “Vegetable,” “Vacuum,” and “Mixed Garbage.”
  2. Fill the “Soil/Control” container with potting soil.
  3. Fill the “Paper” container with shredded or torn paper.
  4. Fill the “Vegetable” container with discarded pieces of fruits and vegetables.
  5. Fill the “Vacuum” container with the contents of the vacuum cleaner. You may want to vacuum the house first to get enough to fill the container.
  6. Fill the “Mixed Garbage” container with 1/3 shredded paper, 1/3 vegetable matter and 1/3 contents from the vacuum cleaner. Mix all the garbage together.
  7. Plant the seeds in the pots as directed on the back of the seed package.
  8. Water the plants with clean tap water. Do not use fertilizer.
  9. Place the plants in a warm, sunny place outdoors. You won’t want to keep them in the house because they may attract flies. If flies do move into the containers, it won’t hurt the plants (in fact, it may help the garbage turn into soil!).
  10. Water the plants daily and record their growth on a chart such as the one below.

PLANT GROWTH CHART

HEIGHT

Soil 1

Soil 2

Soil 3

Paper 1

Paper 2

Paper 3

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

PLANT GROWTH CHART

NUMBER OF LEAVES

Soil 1

Soil2

Soil3

Paper 1

Paper 2

Paper 3

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Terms/Concepts: Germinate; Growth; Photosynthesis; Roots: Stems; Leaves; Flowers; Fruit

References:

Author: Crystal Beran
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