Saturday, May 11, 2013

Plant Science

Look at me! I'm blogging something that is a current activity! lol :)
Over the course of the last month we have been studying plants and how they grow. We have done numerous science experiments to help us understand the process. We have checked out several great books from the library to help us understand how plants grow but the book "Plants" by Sally Hewitt had numerous great recommendations for experiments. The explanations were also at a good level for the kids to understand and maintain their interest.
 Jackson putting adding red dye to water where we placed celery to see how water travels up the stalk/stem of a plant. This was a great experiment because it worked very quickly (within a couple of hours) and you could so clearly see the red traveling up/in the stalk. I highly recommend this experiment!
 We also tested how water is absorbed by plants by placing the flowers in colored water. For some reason this didn't work out great for us this time (we've done it before with varied success). The biggest downside (especially compared to the celery) was it took days for the kids to see the result(s).

 Water dyed and plants placed - all ready to watch and observe the results! :)
 This was a side experiment we had going on. When we planted everything with Grand-Dad, Jackson wanted to dump all the pea seeds in one container. After we planted as many as I wanted the way I wanted I decided to let Jackson have his way so we could see if the peas would grow. Sure enough they did! What really cracked me up is that there are so many plants that it just pushed the dirt up vs pushing up thru the dirt.
 This day we began by prepping a couple of future experiments by soaking bean seeds

 Next we gathered some dandelions from the yard for a couple of experiments and observations. In our various books we have been learning the various parts and purposes to a plant. In the next couple of pictures you can see them discussing the plant and why each part is important.

 We also picked a couple of dandelions and allowed them to wilt and then placed them in water to watch how the rehydrated. We compared how they looked before and after the process. This was another easy experiment that worked pretty well. It would have worked even better if we had paid more attention to the directions and placed a couple in a cup with water and a couple without water to have a ture comparison vs. doing one step and then the other with all of them. 
We took clippings of some ivy and placed them in water to watch how roots develop
 By letting the beans soak in water (picture above) for 24 hours we could more easily but still carefully take the seeds apart to identify all the parts of the seed.

 We have learned that growing roots from clippings is a pretty slow process! Nearly two weeks later you can just barely see some roots developing at the end of one of our clippings. We'll try to keep you posted on our ivy's progress! :)
 The other experiment the kids did with the beans they soaked was to place bean seeds in a glass container with paper towel so we could watch them sprout. I think this will become more interesting, but is also a very slow process. It has again been nearly two weeks and the beans are just now beginning to sprout. I guess we've learned that dirt really makes a difference in plant growth too! We'll try and keep you updated on how this experiment is progressing as well.

I also wanted to mention the book Janice VanCleave's "201 Awesome, Magical, Bizarre
& Incredible Experiments." This book is recommended by Classical Conversations. Some of these experiments came from that book. Everything we've done so far using that book are relatively easy and straightforward and clearly identify the process you are experimenting with to understand. I have purchased lots of science experiment books over the years, but I would definitely rank this one near the top!

1 comment:

  1. Some good work here, and, yes, plants grow more slowly than we want them to. The good news is that weeds don't grow any faster than they do.