Friday, January 25, 2013

Grow tomatoes, grow!

 Grow some tomato plants to later plant outside and learn about germination and photosynthesis in the process.

Appropriate Age Level
3+ for the actual experiment
5+ for concepts

Materials Needed
Planting pot(s) or plastic cups
Tomato seeds
Camera to take growth pictures with

Science Concepts Learned
Germination (1) - (see picture below) the process where a seed grows to become a seedling. For a seed to do this it needs water, oxygen and to be at certain temperature. 

1.The root emerges through the seed.
2.The part of the seed called the hypocotyl pushes it way out of the soil.
3.The hypocotyl straightens itself out.
4.Leaves begin to form.

Photosynthesis -  (see photo below) the process where plants convert energy from light from the sun into chemical energy that can be used by the plant.  

The reaction is the following (3):

carbon dioxide + water  ------->    sugar + oxygen 


1. Set out cups or pots and fill the pots with dirt (a starter mix for plants is recommended) as many as you want though think about seed crowding.  

2. Plant tomato seeds 1/4 inch deep in the dirt (2).

3. Water the seed/dirt mixture to make it soggy but not swampy.

4. In 5 to 10 days germination should occur. Take a picture of the potted seeds each day in this range and discuss the germination steps listed above in the terms section. 

5. After germination has occurred, weekly take pictures of the plants.  

6. After a few weeks compare the size of the plants with the pictures taken and from them you can talk about photosynthesis and how the light and water has helped the plant to grow. 

7. Continue growing the plants, and you can either transfer them to larger pots and keep them inside or you can transfer them outside if it is the right time of year. 

8. Enjoy the fruit you get from this practical example of science!

Time Allotted 
5-10 minutes weekly


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