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Now we're going to find out if roots always grow down and
stems always grow up. We have some wet blotters and some
glass jars. Blotter paper is more stiff than paper towels,
and we need the stiff paper to hold the seeds in place
against the sides of the jars. We'll germinate some bean
seeds and some radish seeds (radishes are FAST!), right next
to the glass, so we can see them easily. A few days after
the seeds have germinated, we'll turn the jars onto their
sides, and see which way the roots and stems grow.

Do you think they will turn and grow up and down? Or, do you
think they will grow sideways?

In another few days, we'll turn the jars again and see what
happens. We could even turn the jars upside down, if we put
them onto a tray to catch any drips of water that may fall.

If we wanted, we could plant three bean seeds in a glass and
keep it sitting upright, plant three corn seeds in another
jar and turn it onto its side after the seeds germinate, then
plant three pea seeds in a third jar, which we would turn
upside down after the seeds germinate. What do you think
would happen then?

Another neat thing we could do is to plant some seeds in soil
in a little pot and turn it onto its side after the seeds
germinate. We could only see the stems, but the plants would
grow for a long time, if we took good care of them.

If plants always grow with roots growing down and stems
growing up, why do you think that is?

I was told by a person who should know that roots grow down
because of gravity. I don't think that is correct, because
the roots of some plants grow laterally (away from the sides
of the plant), level with the soil, but maybe two or three
inches below the surface of the soil. The reason they grow
that way instead of down is because there is no water in the
deeper soil. They can only get water from the surface,
either from dew or shallow watering (by rain or by a person).
If gravity made roots grow downward, and there was no water
beneath the surface, they would wither and die. This is
something that should be investigated.

Again, why do you think plants grow with roots growing down
and stems growing up?

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