Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Bean Bag Help


Basic Experiment Set Up

Below is a description of the materials we used and the procedures we followed in conducting our bean experiments.


  • Quart-sized plastic baggies (vegetable baggies with air holes work best)
  • Paper towels
  • Seeds (soaked in water overnight)
  • Something with which to prop the baggies open

For each of our specific experiments, we focused on one variable and at least four conditions associated with that variable. In each of these experiments, additional materials were used.

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To prepare the baggies, we suggest the following:

  1. Take two paper towels and fold them together to provide several layers of thickness. (Fold the paper towels so they lie flat inside the baggie.)
  2. Add enough water to the baggie to thoroughly wet the paper towels, and then pour out the excess water. (Not all conditions require water.)
  3. Carefully place three pre-soaked beans inside the baggie, on top of the paper towels, so that they are aligned across the center of the baggie.
  4. Store the baggie on a flat surface. (It may help to prop the baggie open so that the plastic does not touch the beans, and so air can circulate into and out of the baggie.)

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Collecting Data

We ran our experiments for 14 days. We suggest that you run your experiments for a minimum of 7 days and a maximum of 14 days.

During this period, collect data at least 5 times, including:

  • Elapsed Day 1 (after one day)
  • Elapsed Day 2 (after two days)
  • Elapsed Day 3 (after three days)
  • Elapsed Day 7 (after seven days)

Note: Day 0 is the day you start your experiment. The Web site refers to Observations 1-5. These refer to the days that data were collected.

We suggest that you collect 3 types of data for each bean in each baggie:

We recorded our data in a table similar to this one. You can copy this table or print it to use it with your experiments.

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Transforming Data

After you have collected your data, it is helpful to transform the data into graphical form to help interpret it. Although you might come up with your own way to graph your data, this Web site is able to transform your data into two different kinds of graphs.

The first graph (Graph A) represents the mean (one measure of average) length of root and shoot on different days for beans in a given condition. This gives you a way to compare beans exposed to a specific condition over several days.

The second graph (Graph B) represents the mean length of root and shoot on a specific day for beans exposed to different conditions. This gives you a way to compare how different conditions affect the beans on any one day.


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