Lesson from the Garden: How Do Seeds Grow?

What is a seed?

Most plants grow from seeds, which come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures.  Within this compact package, seeds contain everything a plant needs to grow and reproduce. Some seeds, such as grass, begin life with one leaf. These kinds of seeds are monocots. Other seeds, such as beans, begin life with two leaves. These kinds of seeds are dicots.

The outside covering of seeds is called the seed coat. It protects the baby plant, or embryo, inside the seed. The seed also contains endosperm, or a food supply, that the embryo uses to grow until the plant can manufacture its own food. In order for seeds to grow into plants, they need soil containing nutrients, water, sunlight, the right temperature, room to grow, and time. In this lesson, students will have the opportunity to observe this process for themselves.

What do living things need?

Discuss what living things need to live and thrive. They will begin with a discussion of what people need. They will compile a list that includes the following: food, water, a place to live, ways to stay warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot, and someone to care for them. They will then go through the same exercise for animals and plants. They will discover that all living organisms have similar needs. At this point, students will probably realize that seeds, which contain a baby plant, also have these same basic needs. Throughout the lesson, they will form a better understanding of this as they look inside a seed and then plant seeds and watch them grow.

Next, students will work in pairs to dissect lima bean seeds that have been soaked overnight. Using a hand lens, they observe the embryo and food supply. Then they complete a “What Are the Parts of a Seed?” worksheet, which asks them to label a diagram of a seed and write down what each part does. This section of the lesson will conclude with a review of what plants need to grow.

Now, the fun part!

Students should place one or two seeds in the hole and cover them with soil. Students are instructed to water the soil when it looks dry. They can tell when the growing plants need water by sticking their fingers one inch into the soil. If it feels dry, then watering is necessary.

Students will write down their observations on the observation sheet.

After the plants have started to sprout, go over the different parts that are emerging. Make sure that students can name these parts and describe their functions:

  • Root: Anchors the plant and takes in water and nutrients from the soil.
  • Stem: Helps support the plant.
  • Leaves: Take in light, which the plant will use to make its own food.

On their observation sheets, students should draw pictures of the growing plant, labeling each part as it emerges.

 

 

Car Washes to Benefit Grow Some Good

Get Sparkly for the Holidays

Make your vehicle sparkle in time for the holidays! Get your car or truck washed and dried, and it will be looking good for all of those holiday activities and events coming up.

December 2, 2017 9:00am – 1:00pm

December 9, 2017 9:00am – 1:00pm

Location: Ohana Fuels / Minit Stop at 85 S. Wakea Street in Kahului

Cost: $10 donation per vehicle

Your car wash donation supports Grow Some Good’s school garden programs in 12 Maui schools, with 4,500 students participating each year. These programs teach students how to build healthy soil, work with natural life cycles, learn STEM principles, and grow their own food. Through school gardens, Grow Some Good helps create a healthy community, support local agriculture, and improve access to nutritious, affordable food.

Fuel Up. Do Good.

The car washes are sponsored by Ohana Fuels’ ‘Fuel Up. Do Good’ community giving program.  From October 1st through December 31st, Ohana Fuels will generously donate a portion of all fuel sales from their Maui gas stations to Grow Some Good.

Get Tickets Here!

Car washes will be held on December 2nd and December 9th. Cost is $10 per car. What a bargain! Get yours today.

Tickets for December 2nd, 2017

Tickets for December 9th, 2017

Tickets purchased online may be redeemed either day. Tickets are also available at the event. Tickets are non-refundable.

Thank you for supporting our school garden programs!

 

Lesson from the Garden: Phototropism

What is Phototropism?

Tropism is a growth response between a plant and an external stimulus. The stimulus could be weather, touch, time, gravity or light. A positive response is indicated by growth toward a stimulus and a negative response is indicated by growth away from the stimulus. Light is a stimulus that plants respond to. This is called phototropism (photo= light).

Plants and Light

Plants usually display a positive phototropic response to light, which means they grow toward a light source. Plant hormones called auxins play a part in phototropism. Auxin is a plant growth hormone. When light is shined on one side of a plant the auxins move to the dark side of the plant. The hormones stimulate the cells on the dark side of the plant to elongate, while the cells on the light side of the plant remain the same. This elongation on one side and staying the same on the other causes the plant to bend in the direction of the light. This bending allows more light to reach more cells on the plant that are responsible for conducting photosynthesis. Wow!

Bend a Plant

You can create an experiment to see phototropism in action!

To see the effects of phototropism on a plant, make your own shoe-box maze.  You will need: a shoebox, extra cardboard, scissors, tape, and a small potted plan. Bean plants work well. Students should have an adult help with the following cutting and box building steps.

  1. Cut a large hole at one end of the shoebox. Hold the box up to the light and be sure to tape up any other spaces where light shines through.
  2. Cut two pieces of cardboard in the following sizes:
  3. First make both pieces half the width of the shoebox.
  4. Then make both pieces the same height of the shoebox.
  5. Now divide the box in thirds and tape one cut cardboard piece on the left side of the box at the one-third mark. Next, tape the other cardboard piece on the right side of the box at the two-thirds mark.

The box should look like the box shown below.

 

Place the small potted plant in the shoebox opposite the hole, make sure that it is well watered. (We started a bean in a plastic cup.)

 

 

 

Close the box, tape it, and place it in a sunny window.

 

In about 4 or 5 days open the box and notice how the plant grows in the direction of the light coming from the hole!!!

Lesson from the Garden: Can plants move?

Can plants move? Yes!

Plants have evolved adaptations that allow them to ‘move’.  Not in the sense that they uproot and walk away, but in other ways.  Plants can move toward or away from water, the sun, and in response to gravity! This is called tropism.

What is Tropism?

Definitions:

Tropism: the means by which a plant grows towards or away from stimuli

Stimuli: a thing or event that evokes/influences a functional reaction

Garden Class Activity

During class, students split up into groups and  search for examples of tropism in the garden. These include:

  • Thigmotropism: growth or movement in response to touch
  • Hydrotropism: growth or movement in response to water (towards or away from moisture)
  • Heliotropism: “sun tracking” – growth or movement in response to the sun’s location
  • Gravitropism: growth or movement in response to gravity

Once all groups have found their example, each group will share what they found and how it is a type of tropism. These might include plants growing up trellises, toward sunshine, or toward a water source. We have many vining plants in our gardens include green beans, peas, watermelon, ipu, and lilikoi, which make great examples of tropism.

Lesson from the Garden: How Plants Breathe 

See How Plants Breathe    

Fill a glass jar with water. Select a large leaf from a plant or tree nearby, drop it into the jar and screw the lid on.  Place the jar in a sunny spot. After an hour, ask students to look in the jar and report what they see inside.

What Do You See?

What would happen if we held our breath, underwater, at the pool and then let out air?

Bubbles!

As oxygen is released by the leaf in the sun, many tiny bubbles form showing photosynthesis in action. The process of photosynthesis is what allows us to see the bubbles — as the leaf releases its extra oxygen while submerged, the oxygen can be seen as bubbles in the water. As a leaf creates that energy, it needs to get rid of the items it no longer needs so it will expel both the extra oxygen during photosynthesis along with water, called transpiration.

And since oxygen is lighter than water, the bubbles will eventually rise to the surface.

Are We the Same?

Does a tree or plant breathe the same as we (humans) do? No. A plant, tree or leaf doesn’t have any lungs or respiratory system; but it is a living organism just like we are.