Growing plants is a useful skill, but this skill cannot be developed without understanding how different environments affect their growth. So, what impact does the environment have on plant growth? In this experiment, place budding pinto beans in a few different locations and track their growth over a period of a few days. At the end of this experiment, you will have a new plant for their garden and understand the best growing conditions for certain types of greenery. 

What You’ll Need: 

  • 15 Pinto Beans
  • 15 Ziploc Bags
  • Paper towels
  • 1 Spray bottle filled with water
  • 1 ruler
  • Paper and pencil

What to Do: 

  1. For each bag, dampen a wet paper towel with the spray bottle, then fold the towel into the Ziploc bag
  2. Place a single bean on top of the wet paper towel, then close the bag.
  3. Choose 5 different locations around your house, some with sunlight and others without, or in varying temperatures. At each location, place three of the bean bags. This way there are multiple trials in each location, which is critical for deducing why one environment worked over another.
  4. Check the bags over the next week and spray the paper towels when they dry out.
  5. Observe and track the growth of the beans by measuring the length of their roots. When plants are out in the wild, most roots are under the ground and unable to be seen. In this case, experimenters can monitor the growth firsthand!
  6. After 2 weeks, the bean sprouts should be ready for planting. At this point, take time to analyze the growth between the different sprout locations. What location produced the healthiest sprouts? Why is that?
  7. If desired, use a small pot and some soil to plant the bean for longer care.

What is Happening: 

Plants use a process of photosynthesis to gain food using the sun, so locations with a lot of sun and water help to improve plant growth. Too much sun and water can overfeed the plants, or cause mold to grow which could kill them. Too few of these components starve the plant and over time it will wither. Creating a balance enables the plant to grow to healthy root lengths.  

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