Fifth-graders experiment with plants

Showing off their sponge sprout houses are Johnathan Hadley, Xander Payne, Sidra Brown, Payge Gibson, Braxton White, James Slay, Taylor Robertson, Brooklyn Vinson.

Special to Atmore News

Perdido Elementary School students in Mrs. Jill Jones’s fifth-grade class have been discovering what plants need to live and grow and the process of photosynthesis through a series of experiments.

First, students designed experiments to determine which type of liquid is best for watering squash. The squash seeds were planted in test tubes which the students watered daily with milk, water, food coloring, salt water, Dr Pepper, or apple juice. Each group recorded the root length, stem height, and leaf count every day for two weeks. They were excited to find the plants watered with Dr Pepper did well. Although the plants watered with milk and juice did not grow as quickly as those plants given the water, they grew as well. They were a little disappointed that the food coloring did not change the color of the plant. Of course, the salt water seeds did not sprout. After the students collected their data for this two-week portion of the experiment, some of the squash plants (mostly those watered with water) were planted in a raised garden. They are now blooming and beginning to put on squash!

In a second experiment related to plants, groups of students combined engineering and science to create sprout houses. Working in small groups, the students designed their sponge house as a team. Each group was given toothpicks and sponges to build their house. Once the houses were finished, students spread chia seeds all over the tops.  By the second day, the seeds were sprouting. The students discovered that soil is not a necessary ingredient for plant growth.