Sponsored By: Corteva Agriscience
Adapted from The Radish Party by Jeff Piotrowski, Tammy Mildenstein, Kathy Dungan, and Carol Brewer
Science & Children | October 2007 | Vol 45, Issue 2
Students learn that stem strength and color, in addition to growth, are indicative of a healthy plant and healthy soil
Depending on the grade level, assessing plant growth and health can be done in several ways. For the youngest of students, simply looking at how tall the seedlings are and gently counting the number of leaves can be a good measure. Older students should be encouraged to measure plant height, stem thickness, and number of leaves. Advanced students may be able to graph plant height, stem thickness, and leaf number through time to determine quantitatively which plants are growing fastest.
When the set investigation time is up, bring students together to compare their earlier predictions to the actual plants grown. Ask the students to make observations and look for differences (advanced students may even make a few measurements). Sample questions include: What differences do you see? Which soil yielded the largest plants? The most healthy looking plants? Is the tallest plant always the healthiest? Were your predictions met? Why or why not?
The students’ drawings should reveal whether or not they learned basic plant form, understand why plants may differ in growth, and what the reasons for differences in growth are. Follow-up class discussions help clear up any misconceptions that were evident in their predictions.