LEVEL: Elementary


CONCEPTS: Biological Science Plants Seeds become plants


OBJECTIVES: The student will grow a been seed and watch how a plant begins.


MATERIALS: lima beans, Ziploc baggies paper towels


BACKGROUND: Seeds start to grow when conditions are right to support the needs of growing plants. Water, air and proper temperature are all necessary for seed growth, Water makes the seed swell and softens the seed coat. The embryo begins to grow. A warm temperature is also needed for a seed to germinate. Many seeds begin to grow in the springtime of the year when the sun shines and the days begin to warm. After a seed starts to grow, the embryo grows into a young plant. Seedlings need warm temperature, water and food to keep growing.



1.     Distribute a lima bean seed it a red bean to each student.

2.     Tape a dampened paper towel inside a ziplock bag and place a seed on the paper towel.

3.     Place the sealed ziplock baggies in a dark area. Predict how long it takes for the bean to sprout.

4.     Predict which part will appear first: the root or the stem.

5.     After the bean sprouts, hang the bags in the window with tape or on a bulletin board with push pins. The student will observe that the beans have roots that grow toward the floor and stems that grow toward the sky.

6.     Predict and record how many days it will take for the first leaves to appear.

7.     Predict how long the cotyledons (food supply for the young plant) remain on the plant before falling off.

8.     Draw the plants as they grow.

9.     Measure the stem and root growth each day and graph the results.



1.     Compare other seeds \to the lima beans seeds.

2.     Construct a plant growth view box. Remove the top from a small milk carton. Cut a window in the side of the carton. Cover the window with plastic wrap. Fill the carton with soil and plant seed next to the window. Keep the f lap closed, and open only to view the seed growing.

3.     Mix a cup of plaster of paris with water. Pour into a Styrofoam cup. Place a dry lima bean in the middle of the mixture. When the plaster of paris is dry, peel the cup from around it. Set it on a shelf and watch what happens. (The lima bean should swell from the moisture in the plaster of paris and crack the plaster.



TECHNOLOGY: Have the students record their plants growth using MSpaint then put the pictures into a powerpoint slide presentation.


Adapted from 1990 Aims Education Foundation