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About the Participant

Your Name: The Next Move
School: Harvard-Smithsonian
City: Cambridge State: MA
Grade Level(s): Subject(s):
Email address: channel@learner.org


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We asked some of the Channel staff to help us with our experiments. For each of our six experiments, we asked a different staff member what his or her predictions would be.

About the Experiment

Experiment Title: What parts of a seed are needed for the seed in water to sprout and grow? (Workshop 7)

Conditions:

  1. Whole seed (control)
  2. Seed minus seed coat
  3. Seed minus seed leaves
  4. Seed minus plant embryo
  5. Seed coat only
  6. Seed leaves only
  7. Embryonic plant only

Experimental Predictions:

Predictions from: Caterer

I think the whole seed will sprout. I also think the seeds minus their seed coat might sprout as the seed coat doesn't seem like it is all that important for sprouting, although it seems it might be important for protecting the seed before it gets the chance to sprout. I think the plant embryos only and the seed minus the seed leaves might sprout as the plant embryos (included in both these conditions) look like a sprout. I do not think that any of the other conditions will sprout.

 

Experiment Methods and Procedure:

In all of the following conditions, we used lima bean seeds. See our instructions for dissecting seeds.

  • 3 pre-soaked seeds in plastic bag with moistened paper towel
  • 3 pre-soaked seeds with seed coat removed in plastic bag with moistened paper towel
  • 3 pre-soaked seeds with seed leaves removed in plastic bag with moistened paper towel
  • 3 pre-soaked seeds with plant embryo removed in plastic bag with moistened paper towel
  • 3 seed coats of 3 pre-soaked seeds in plastic bag with moistened paper towel
  • 3 seed leaves of 3 pre-soaked seeds in plastic bag with moistened paper towel
  • 3 plant embryos of 3 pre-soaked seeds in plastic bag with moistened paper towel

The beans were measured and photographed on days 1,3,7,10, and 14 of the experiment.


Results and Conclusions:

Our results showed that, given water, a whole seed, a seed with the seed coat removed, an embryonic plant only, and seed leaves only will sprout and grow. We do wonder, however, if we might have left a bit of the embryonic plant on the seed leaves in the latter condition, as we cant imagine why a seed without the embryonic plant would sprout. We also noticed that the embryonic plant in seeds with the seed leaves removed seemed OK, but neither sprouted nor grew --perhaps because they were covered up by the seed coat? We thus reject parts of our hypothesis because we thought the whole seed, seed minus seed coat, seed minus seed leaves, and plant embryo only would sprout. Overall, seeds seem to need all their parts to thrive. This is an experiment wed like to do again to correct for possible experimental errors!

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