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How Does the Stem Grow?

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Areas of Science
Time Required
Long (2-4 weeks)
Material Availability
Readily available
Very Low (under $20)
No issues
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Plant stems grow through a process of elongation due to cell divisions within the stem. Does the entire length of the stem elongate evenly? Or do certain regions along the plant stem grow more or less than others? Regions that are involved in active growth are called vegetative. You can conduct an experiment to show which regions of a bean seedling are involved in vegetative growth. Use a marker to mark one inch sections along the main stem of a young bean seedling. Number the regions 1-6 along the stem from the root to the shoot. Keep a daily log by measuring each region along the stem for a week or so. Do any of the regions elongate? Which regions show the most elongation? Which regions show the least elongation? What do you think would happen if you tried the same experiment with another species? What if you tried it with an older more mature plant? Will light or temperature effect the rate of growth? (VanCleave, 1993, 69-74; Vecchione, 2001, 150-151)


  • VanCleave, J. 1993. Janice VanCleave's A+ Projects in Biology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Vecchione, G. 2001. 100 Award-Winning Science Fair Projects. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing.
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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "How Does the Stem Grow?" Science Buddies, 28 July 2017, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/PlantBio_p023/plant-biology/how-does-the-stem-grow. Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2017, July 28). How Does the Stem Grow? Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/PlantBio_p023/plant-biology/how-does-the-stem-grow

Last edit date: 2017-07-28
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