Our summer gardening experiment has led to several questions about plants. I explained that plants get energy from the sun, and designed this simple experiment to teach my kids how important the sun is to plants.
Plant Science for Kids: Plants and sunlight
For this experiment, we put a tomato seedling in front of a window, and observed that it bent its stem to expose its leaves completely to the sun. Then we marked where the leaves were leaning using a marker (see the right edge of the pot), and turned the pot so that the plant was facing away. We did this several times, noting each time that the plant would change directions to get as much sunlight, and always marking the edge of the pot that the leaves were closest to. It’s an experiment I hope to repeat with my kids over the years, explaining what is going on in greater complexity as they grow older.
Here are a few adaptations for older kids:
- Ask them to predict what, if anything, will happen to the plant after it is moved in front of the window
- Once the plant moves, ask them to explain why
There are also some great picture books you can read to go along with this experiment, for example:
- Roots by Vijaya Khisty Bodach
- Seed to Plant by Kristin Baird Rattini
- How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan
- From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
*Note: these are affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase a book using these links. Thank you for supporting my site!
Do you have a favorite plant science picture book that I should I add to my list?
The experiment definitely made an impression on Emma – she has been drawing plants in the sun ever since, like this:
The little animal on the top right is a bumblebee, pollinating the flowers =)
What are your favorite experiments and other science activities for kids?