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MAKING A SEED TESTER

Many different kinds of information can be gained by
testing. We test meat for doneness by poking it with a fork.
We test the weather by using a thermometer to see how warm or
cold it is. We also test the weather by going outside, and
if we get wet, we decide that it must be raining! Our
teacher tests us to see if we have learned that which has
been taught. We are going to make a seed tester which will
tell us what percentage of seeds germinate. We each have a
long piece of paper toweling, folded lengthwise. If it's
folded properly, it will be long and skinny. Open it up, and
on one side, draw squares of equal size. Number the squares,
and make a list of the numbers. Sprinkle a little water onto
the sidewith the squares on it so the seeds will stay where
they are put.

We have ten seeds each of several different kinds of seeds.
Put the seeds onto the squares in such a way that each
square has ten of the same kind of seeds. On your list,
beside the square numbers, write the kind of seeds you put
into the squares, so you will know what kinds of seeds you
are testing. Be careful that you don't mix the seeds,
because our test won't work if you have two or more kinds of
seed in the same square. Fold the other side of the toweling
onto the side with seeds, and roll it up. Tie it so it
stays rolled, and set the roll into a saucer of water.
(Instead ofplacing the roll into a saucer of water, the roll
could be rolled up inside of several sheets of wet news-
paper.) Put the seed tester in a warm place and watch it
carefully to make sure it doesn't get too dry.

In three days, we'll unroll our testers, and count how many
of each kind of seed germinated. Write down your results.
Roll up your tester again, and put it back into the saucer of
water for another three days. We'll unroll the testers
again, and count the number of seeds that germinated. Write
the results on your lists, by the square number and kind of
seed, just as you did after the first three-day test. Now we
can make a histogram.

We could do the experiment a little differently by putting
some of the testers in sunny places, some in shady places,
some in warm places, and some could be in cool places. Then
we could see if there is any difference in the rate of ger-
mination, and decide what kind of place is best. One tester
could be different from the others. We could draw 100
squares on a paper towel, and place one seed in each square,
all the seeds being of the same kind. Roll it up like the
other, and when we unroll it, count the seeds that have
germinated. From that number, we would know what the per-
centage of germination is. That is, if 60 seeds germinated
in three days, we would know that 60% of them germinated in
three days; if another 20 seeds germinated after three more
days, we would know that 80% of the seeds germinated in six
days time.


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