Growing fresh greenery from the tippy top of a root vegetable is a simple project that’ll introduce kids to the Scientific Process and help them hone observation and care taking skills.
Start with a slice from the top of a root vegetable. You want a slice that contains the plant’s crown (the place where the green leaves meet the vegetable) and a bit of the veggie itself. Aim for a slice 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick and you should be in good shape.
Once you’ve selected a vegetable crown, just place it in a container of water so that its bottom is moist and its top is not. Aim to keep the water level just below the crown.
After that, place the container in a warm and sunny location. After some experimentation, I found that a shallow container like a cereal bowl or saucer work best.
From here on out, it’s all about care taking and observing. Top off the water as needed and change it completely every 3 days or so to slow the growth of bacteria. Within a few days you should notice new leaves forming.
From here, you can keep the experiment going as long as you like.
This simple activity offers kids a chance to learn care taking and observation skills. As they watch for new growth, ample sunlight, and an appropriate water level they are learning to be responsible caretakers.
If you want to introduce children to the basics of the Scientific Process, you can record their predictions about what will happen if their slice of beet or parsnip gets enough sun and water.
Taking it a step further, you could set up a couple control groups. Maybe a slice set in a warm and sunny location, but without water and another sealed in a container without light or water.
Another idea would be to use a measuring cup and track how much water you add in the course of a week.
And you can chow down on the greenery of all the root vegetables mentioned above. So, some taste-bud based exploration is another road of learning the kids may choose to travel down.
All of these activities offer a chance for playful STEM learning.
I plan to update this post with more pictures and observations as time goes by, but I’d also like to hear and see how it goes for you if you give it a try. You can share thoughts and images in the comments.
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