Plants provide us with so much — oxygen to breath, food to eat, materials to make clothing and paper, and beautiful flowers and leaves to admire! How can plants be so diverse and survive in so many kinds of climates? How do they know how to grow towards the sun? Why do some plants not have seeds? Explore the amazing and beautiful world of plants with an experiment from our collection of plant biology projects.
Trees grow more during the early spring than they do the rest of the year. Because of this period of dormancy, or lack of growth, each year of growth is marked by a line called a tree ring. You can count the number of rings in the cross section of a tree trunk to show how old the tree is. You can also count the number of rings in a stem to see the age of a stem or branch. One way to measure the rate of growth of a tree is to count the number of rings per inch. Trees with high numbers of…
We have all heard the old saying, "One bad apple spoils the whole bunch." Due to the production of the plant hormone ethylene during the ripening process, this saying proves true! This experiment will investigate the role of ethylene in the process of fruit ripening.
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Short (2-5 days)
Average ($50 - $100)
Adult supervision required. Protective gloves, eyewear and lab coat required when working with iodine solutions.
Did you know that apple trees do not "breed true"? This means that if you plant seeds from an apple, say a Granny Smith, you will get apple trees, but they will make apples that are actually different than Granny Smiths. So how do farmers produce new Granny Smith trees? They use a method called vegetative propagation. For instance, they may cut a branch off of a tree that grows Granny Smith apples and attach the branch onto a different tree trunk. This method of making new trees is called…
Plants have evolved many clever mechanisms to ensure that their seeds will wait for appropriate conditions before sprouting. Some may only germinate after a fire, others only after going through a cold spell. This project explores one important variable among many that determine the ideal conditions for seed germination.
Leaves grow in a different pattern than stems and shoots. They do not elongate along one axis, but instead spread out over time. Do all regions of the leaf grow equally? You can use markings on different regions of a growing leaf to see if the whole surface grows, or if growth is focused in a particular region, like the veins or edges of the leaf. If you look along a leafy stem, you may notice that leaves at different positions along the stem are different sizes. You can do an experiment to…