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Do you think that plants need soil so that they can grow?
Why do you think that is? This project will show us how long
plants can grow without soil.

We have some wet sand, which has been washed very carefully
so as to get out any dirt that may be in it. We will put the
sand into pots, and plant a few seeds in each pot. They can
all be in a sunny place, or we could even put them in
different places, so that they have different amounts of

If we put them in different places, we should number the pots
and make a list, showing where each pot is. We must remember
to keep the sand moist so that they seeds don't dry out.
When we see a little green above the sand, we will write the
date beside that pot's number. Each day, we can measure the
little stem, and also make a note when leaves appear.

Which seeds will germinate first?

Oh oh! Some of the stems and leaves are beginning to look a
little droopy, even though we kept the sand moist. We know
they don't need water. What do you suppose is wrong? Do you
think the little plants might be hungry? We have already
learned that the cotyledons (part of the seed which has food
for the embryos) give the embryos the nourishment they need
to germinate. Do you think that plants need to have food
regularly, like we do? If they use all the food in the
cotyledons, where do they get food then?

Could it be that soil has food in it? How could we find out?

We could transplant some of the little plants into pots with
potting soil, and see if they stand up straight and begin to
grow again.

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