What can be learned from a Grass Buddy?

grass-buddy400From a simple Grass Buddy, as in a garden, there a many, many lessons that can be learned; Capillary action, Soil science, Water, Germination, Sun energy, Photosynthesis, Phototropism, Oxidation, not to mention Patience, Observation, Care, Responsibility, Community and more. Here are a couple of simple activities to show how you can explain simple, but important, scientific principles by using plants.

 

Capillary action: the process that moves water along

This process can also be seen in plants where moisture travels from the roots to the rest of the plant. It occurs due to the adhesive force between the water and the paper towel being stronger than the cohesive forces inside the water itself.

DemoWhat you’ll need:

  • A glass of water
  • An empty glass
  • Some paper towels

Instructions:

Twist a couple of pieces of paper towel together until it forms something that looks a little like a piece of rope. This will be the ‘wick’ that will absorb and transfer the water (a bit like the wick on a candle transferring the wax to the flame). Place one end of the paper towels into the glass filled with water and the other into the empty glass.

Watch what happens.


Water: a necessity for life

Whats the big deal about finding water on Mars? Plenty. Where there is water, there is the possibility of life. Plants are made up of about 90-95% water. Without it, they start to wilt and will die. The human body is 50%-75% water, depending on a person’s age: children are made of more water while elderly people are made of a bit less. So, whenever you drink a glass of water, you may need to water your plants, too!

DemoWhat you’ll need:

  • 2 plants of the same type and similar size and shape
  • A watering can or glass of water

Instructions:

Place your two plants, side by side, in a location where everything but the amount of water they get is the same. Water one of the plants daily. Do not water the other. What happens to the one with no water?


Types of Plants:  Monocots and Dicots

Cotyledons are the first leaves produced by plants. Cotyledons are not considered “true leaves” and are sometimes referred to as “seed leaves”, because they are actually part of the seed or embryo of the plant. The seed leaves serve to access the stored nutrients in the seed, feeding it until the true leaves develop and begin photosynthesizing (making food out of water, carbon dioxide and energy from the sun.)

 

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Care & Repsonsibility:

 In nature, plants choose where they are best suited to live. If conditions are not right, seeds do not germinate and grow. People often choose the place we want plants to grow. The conditions we choose may not be the same ones the plant would choose. So, to make sure plants we bring home survive, it is up to us, our responsibility, to help care for them. Activity: Compare what happens to plants that are cared for and those that are not.