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HANDS ON
Examine Your Roots

How do roots grow?

Help some seeds grow roots and then compare the different kinds of root structures. Consider the importance and function of a plant's root system.
Materials
Four sealable plastic baggies
Four soft, white, absorbent paper towels
Water
Metric tape measure/ruler
Four varieties of differently sized seeds (vegetables, fruits, or flowers)
Potting soil
Small flowerpots or cartons

Procedure
Fold each paper towel in quarters. Moisten each towel generously, but not dripping.
Place a seed from each variety inside the fold of the moist towel, so that the towel provides a moist blanket for the seed.
Place each towel/seed combination into a separate bag and seal the bag tightly. Make sure you remember which seed went into which bag.

Like this

Each day for at least a week, observe and measure your seed's root growth by carefully opening the bag and gently unfolding the towel. Use a metric tape or ruler to measure the longest root growth.
Keep a table of your data.
After a week or so, plant the seeds in soil and let them continue their life cycle.
Chart and analyze the root growth data.

Conclusions
You should use a variety of seeds so that students can observe the difference between monocots and dicots. Bean seeds are good dicots. Ordinary turfgrass seeds are good monocots, but you can try any seed variety you like.

Extension Ideas
If the potted seeds grow well, consider planting the plants outside in a garden where you'll be able to track the plant's continuing life cycle.

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