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MEASURING THE STRENGTH OF EMBRYOS

How much weight can you lift? Can you lift something that
weighs as much as you do? How much weight do you suppose
plant embryos could lift? How much weight do you think
plants can lift? How can you find out how much weight they
can lift?

We will weigh some bean seeds, and write it on our papers,
then we'll plant them, each at the same depth, in a large,
flat box. We have two small boxes that fit nicely into the
plant box, and after we weigh a few rocks, we'll put them
into one of the boxes.

We will weigh some pea seeds (or any other large seed), write
down their weight, and plant them, also each at the same
depth, in another large, flat box. Then, we will weigh some
coins, and, after writing down their weights, we'll put a
coin on top of each seed we have planted in the second box.
Remember, half-dollars weigh more than quarters, dimes,
nickels, and pennies. Do any of the seeds weigh more than
the coins? Write it on your lists.

What do you think will happen? Every few days, we will
gently lift the boxes off the seeds planted in the first
box. Did the seeds with the rock box on top start to grow?
Did the seeds under the empty box grow? What happened?
What happened with the seeds planted under the coins? Did
the embryos lift the coins? Did the embryos lift any coins
that weigh more than the seeds? We can make a graph to show
the weights of the seeds compared to the weights of the coins
they could lift.

There is a plant called "saxifraga" (pronounced "sax-i-fraz-
ya") which can actually break through some kinds of rocks
that are on top of it. It can even break through concrete!
Plants are part of erosion. When a plant starts growing on
the little bit of soil that has blown onto a rock, the roots
will slowly grow down into the pores of the rock. Over time,
the roots will cause the rock to break apart. What a
surprise that is!!


 
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