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Plant Adventures Unit
Could a plant survive without light?
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Discuss:

Do you think plants need dirt to grow? How could you find out?

Hint...

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Discuss:

What do you think will happen?

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Compare these two tomato plants. The one on the left grew in dirt. The one on the right grew in water, but no dirt.

Discuss: Which plant looks healthier? Why?

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Discuss:

Our experiments show that plants need water and dirt to be healthy. What else do they need?

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Stop

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Discuss:

Which plant do you think is healthier: the one that grew in the light or the one that grew in the dark?

Why do you think that?

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You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading, and extension activity in the extensions.

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration that you just completed.
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Flower Demonstration

For this experiment, you need food coloring, vases or cups, and white flowers. (Carnations work well.)

Add food coloring to water, then put the flowers in the colored water and wait. Depending on the type of flower and the humidity, it may take a few hours or a day to see results. (For detailed instructions and an explanation, check out Fun Learning for Kids.

Discuss: What do you think will happen?

When you see results, discuss: Why do you think that happened?

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Extra Activity: Branches in a Leaf

If the demonstration of water traveling into a flower intrigues your students, you can give them a chance to examine this more closely.

Cut some pale lettuce leaves from a lettuce head and put the cut end in red or blue-colored water. (Butter lettuce works well.) Like the flower, the lettuce leaves will soak up the colored water, revealing a pattern of veins in the lettuce leaf. Have children draw the pattern of veins in a lettuce leaf. These are usually difficult to see, but the food coloring makes them visible.

You can do other experiments involving dyes in leaf veins.

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Extra Activity: Grow Your Name

If your students are interested in growing plants in water (without dirt), try making a very simple hydroponic garden. All you need is a damp kitchen sponge or piece of cotton cloth, sprinkled with lettuce or radish seeds.

Your students can write their names in seeds, and watch them grow, following the very simple instructions from Tim Hunkin.

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Overview
Grade 2nd
Topic Plant Adaptations
Focus Water, Sunlight, & Plant Growth
85 reviews
Print Prep
Activity Prep

THIS LESSON WAS REVISED ON JULY 24, 2020. If you've prepped prior to that date, here is the link to the previous version.
In this Mystery, students investigate how plants need water and sunlight to grow. In the two-part activity, Seeds — Light and Dark, students experiment with growing radish seeds in light and dark conditions. They plant them in cups, place half of the cups in sunlight, and put the other half in a dark container. Three to seven days later, students compare the seedlings and then watch what happens when all are placed in sunlight.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Draw the Radishes worksheet Print 30 copies
Crayons
Ideally each student will have green and yellow colors available. Colored pencils or markers will also work.
Details
60 crayons
Aluminum Foil
Need enough to cover the aluminum pan.
Details
3 feet
Aluminum Pan
Must be large enough to hold half of the Dixie cups.
Details
1 pan
Baking Soda
8 teaspoons
Dixie Cups (3 oz)
38 cups
Paper Plates
8 plates
Spray Bottles
8 bottles
Sticker Labels (1" x 3")
30 labels
Peat Pellets
You need to soak peat pellets in water so that they are moist enough. Potting soil will also work. You will need about a quart of potting soil for a class of 24 students.
Details
30 pellets
Radish Seeds
1 3-gram packet
Prep Instructions

This is a two-part activity. We recommend that you allow at least three days (up to one week) in between Part One and Part Two of the experiment to give the radish seeds time to germinate.

You will need access to a sunny windowsill for radish seeds to grow in the light. You will also need access to water so that you can fill up the spray bottles.

We recommend students work in pairs. Homeschool students can work on their own but will need to prepare at least two Dixie cups so that they can compare what happens to the plants in sunlight versus in the dark.

Prep Radish Seeds

For each group of four students, put about ⅛ teaspoon radish seeds (at least 40 seeds) in a Dixie cup.

Prep Dixie Cups

For each student (or one homeschool student), fill one Dixie cup halfway with moist potting soil. Or if you are using peat pellets, place one pellet in each cup, fill the cup with water, and let the pellet soak up the water for at least 30 minutes.

Prep Spray Bottles

In each spray bottle, mix about 1 cup of water with about ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. Adding baking soda will inhibit mold growth in the soil, but won’t affect the plants.

Plan Your Time

After students complete Part One of this activity, they will need to wait at least three days (up to one week) to give the radish seeds time to germinate. Make sure to spray both the cups in the sunlight and the cups in the dark with water during this time.

When most of the leaves have come up, show Part Two of the activity.

Overview
Grade 2nd
Topic Plant Adaptations
Focus Water, Sunlight, & Plant Growth
85 reviews
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