A sprout emerges from a seed. It’s an exciting process that usually happens in the ground and out of sight – until now. Today we’ll show you how to plant a bean in a clear plastic bag so you can observe how roots form and leaves emerge before your very eyes!
Video Tutorial: seedlings video
A small plastic storage bag with a zipper top, a dried uncooked bean or pea or other seed, paper towels, and water.
For this experiment, choose a window where the seeds will get plenty of light, but won’t be blasted by intense sun all day. If your windows are freezing cold, tape the bag to a clear glass or vase in a sunny spot indoors, rather than a window.
1. Have your child cut a paper towel in half and fold it a few times so it can fit into the zipper storage bag.
2. Soak the paper towel in water and slide it into the bag. Smooth it so that it’s relatively flat inside the bag.
3. Let your child position two beans or seeds about a half inch from the bottom of each bag, on one side of the paper towel. Don’t worry if they don’t stay in place, but if necessary, stuff a little piece of paper towel into the bottom of the bag so that the seeds aren’t sitting in water.
4. Seal the bag part way, leaving an opening near the top so the growing plants can get some air.
5. Tape the bag in a window with the beans facing indoors, so that your child can watch them as they grow. Be sure to periodically moisten the paper towel to keep an ideal growing environment for the seeds.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND IT:
Dried beans and peas are seeds that contain dormant (sleeping) baby plants. These tiny plants need signals to make them “wake up” and emerge from the seed: light, air and water. Temperature can also play a role, which is why you don’t want to put your seed against a freezing cold window.
Germination is the name for the processes the plant goes through in order to sprout from the seed and form leaves. When a plant first sprouts, it gets nutrients from the seed. You can see the seed shrinking as the plant grows. As the plant develops, it depends on its roots and leaves to collect the energy it needs. Once it reaches a certain size and uses up the nutrients in the seed, your window sprout can be transplanted into soil outside.
Sponsored by National Grid.
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