Seed Germination

Calvin Harris Bethune Elementary
3030 W. Arthington
Chicago IL 60612


The main objective of the Mini-teach is to show students that water and air
are essential to the germination process of plant life and that this process can
be demonstrated by using any different number of growth chambers.

Materials Needed:

plastic bag magic tape
stapler/staples masking tape
paper towels fresh-dry lima beans
plastic knives water-soaked lima beans
clothes pins


1. Make some physical observations of the soaked seeds and the dry seeds, but
be sure you soak the seeds for observation at least 24 hours.
2. Discuss some of the variations when you cut open the soaked seed and when
you try to cut open the dry seed.
3. Take a sheet of paper towel and fold it in half and take that half and
fold it in half to make a perfect square.
4. Place dry seed on the paper towel securing it with a piece of magic tape.
5. Place a paper towel in a 7" X 8" zip lock plastic bag. Be sure to secure
the paper towel inside the plastic bag using your stapler. Staple only the
two top ends of the paper towel onto the plastic bag.
6. Moisten your paper towel thoroughly.
7. Place the bag in a warm spot such as against the window. Using a clothes
pin, hang it up on a string of wire roped along the window with the seed
facing outward toward the sun.
8. Examine the seed package and note how many days must pass before the seed
germinates. On the day that the seed begins to germinate, remove the bag
from its warm spot to see if the first small roots have broken through
the seed coat. Wait three more days and change the position of the
plastic bag by rotating the bag 90 degrees clockwise.
9. Examine the seed package and note if gravity has had any adverse effect
on the directional change in the stem and root growth.
10. Don't try to save the seedling from the germination test because it will
die after planting since its tiny, delicate root has been seriously
11. Keep this method in mind if your project calls for applying a chemical
solution that may affect the speed of germination or if you have to measure
root growth in the seedling.

Performance Assessment:

At the conclusion of the Mini-teach, students will be able to answer the
following questions:
1. Why is air an important element for seed germination?
2. Why is water an important element for seed germination?
3. What happens to a water soaked seed?
4. Is the direction of the stem and/or root affected when the growth chamber
is rotated?
5. Why can't a dry seed germinate?
6. How long can a dry seed survive while in its dormant state?
7. How long can a soaked seed survive while it is germinating?
8. Will the soaked seed germinate faster if exposed to sun light or artificial
room light?
9. What is a growth chamber?
10. What will happen to a germinating seed if it is removed from its growth


The students will understand that water, air, and sunlight are important to
successful seed germination.

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