Friday, April 22, 2011

Science: Learning about Plants, Lesson 3: Roots

Today we learned in more detail about different kinds of roots and what roots do.  We read the information about roots on p. 11 in What is a Plant?, and just before he started mowing the yard, Aaron brought us a week he'd uprooted that was a great example of a plant with a taproot.

Then we started a couple of experiments that will (hopefully!) let us learn more about roots.

First we extracted some avocado pits and looked at them, noticing the flatter side and the more pointed side. I told the boys that we were going to put them in water so that they'd begin to sprout, and I asked which end they thought would sprout the root.  Brennan said the pointed end and Connor said the flat, which worked out nicely since the experiment was to try it both ways.  It's supposed to take several weeks, so I guess it's good that we'll have plenty of other things to do in the meantime!  This experiment is from Flowers and Seeds by Ramona Bates.

We also started an experiment from Experiments with Plants by Salvatore Tocci.

 We soaked some lima beans and then put them in two glass jars between the side of the jar and some paper towels.  We added water to soak the paper towels and put one of them by a window to watch for the stems to sprout.  The other is the one we're watching for the roots (which should come first).  Once we see the roots growing down, we'll turn the jar upside down and see what happens to the roots.  We'll do the same thing to the stems when they start growing in the other jar.

There's another root experiment that I want to do with them in this book that shows that a plant's roots absorb water, but it calls for a potted plant, which I don't have a the moment.  So I'll be picking one up soon!

They also did a lot of leaf rubbings with leaves we collected the other day at the botanic garden and last Saturday at a local park.  Doesn't have much to do with roots, but some of the leaves were starting to get dry.  I think we're going to go ahead and press some of them tomorrow.

And more sprouts in our garden!  We're going to need to thin some of them soon.

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