The Q&A Archives: Growing Beans for Science Project

Questioner's Location: Mundelein, IL
Date: February 27, 1998

Question: For a 6th grade science project, I am growing beans in different types of soil. Can you suggest different things I can do with this project? Can you suggest sources of information that I can use as backup? What should I be looking for? I have planted bush beans in 5 different things - a) water & tissue, b) sand,c) soil with vermiculite, d) straight soil, & e) potting soil with manure & vermiculite & peat moss.

Answer: First, I'd think about what kind of data you want to collect. Be very specific. For example, it isn't really useful to say, which plant grows best. You want information you can measure. Some examples are: height, length of largest leaf, total number of leaves. You might make a big chart, and list the date on the top, and the different treatments on the left. Then, for each plant for each day, list all the measurements you've taken and some general observations--such as "this one isn'tas green as the others".<br><br>Of course you must be sure to give the plants equal treatment, so that the planting medium ("soil") is the only thing that varies.<br><br>You might start listing the characteristics you notice about each medium, for example how quickly does water drain through; what, if any, nutrients might be contained in the soil; how quickly the medium absorbs water, etc.<br><br>You also need to decide if you are going to fertilize the plants, or let them draw their nutrients directly from the planting medium.<br><br>For some background information, you can check with your teacher, of course, or you can spend some time searching the web. For example, I used Infoseek and searched using the word "bean". I then searchedwithin those results using the word "soil" and came up with the following:<br><br><br><br>I'm sure there are lots more interesting sites.

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