Look at It Grow Part 2-Tracking the Growth of Bean Seeds

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Students will be able to understand the seed germination process by observing and recording the germination of a bean seed.

Big Idea

Making and recording and observations are important scientific skills. This experiment gives your students the chance to practice these skills while observing the development of a bean seed.


10 minutes

Materials Needed

Bean Seed Observations Sheet  Included as a PDF with this lesson

Bean seeds in bags**

**This lesson is a continuation of Watch It Grow-A Simple Planting Investigation.  If you would like your students to record regular observations of the development of a bean seed, this lesson outlines a simple process for recording these observations. 

I gather the students and say to them, Whenever a scientist does an investigation or experiment, they watch what is going on with the experiment.  What do we call this?  That’s right, making observations.  When a scientist makes observations, it is really important that the observations are recorded so they can be shared with other people.  Sometimes the scientists may write down measurements or write down descriptions. 

Sometimes, the scientist will draw pictures to show what is happening during an investigation.  That is what we are going to do with our bean plant investigation.  We are going to look at the bean seeds on different days and draw a picture of what we see happening.  You will pick one of your bean seeds and focus on that one for your observations.  We will use this sheet to record our observations.  You will draw a picture of the bean seed.

Do you think it matters if we use a pencil or color crayons to make our picture?  (crayons)  Why do you think crayons would be better to use?  That’s right.  There might be different colors that we want to show and we would not be able to do that with a pencil. 

It will take about 12-14 days for our seed experiment, but I noticed that there are only 10 boxes for observation.  Why do you think there are not more boxes?  (We aren’t here every day)  If we need more boxes, we can just attach another sheet on the back of this one.


Observing and Recording

10 minutes

It is now time for the students to record their observations.  It is important to provide some scaffolding for the students so they have an idea of how to draw a good picture of what their bean seed looks like.  For this reason, I draw a picture on the whiteboard for the students, using the colors that are represented by the bean.  After I draw my picture, I have the students label the date on their sheet and then draw a picture.

I go around and look at their drawings, giving them feedback on what they have drawn.  I want them to understand the importance of recording their observations accurately.  Some of the students do not use their brown crayon, even though the bean was brown.  I remind them to use the correct color so we can see if there are any changes in color on future observations.  I collect the papers and put them in a tray as the students complete their first observation.  Now that I have guided then through one observation, step by step, I allow them to observe the bean seed on their own each day.  

On-Going Observations

5 minutes

The students now have the opportunity to observe their bean seeds on their own.  When the students are done with their work, they are free to check their bean seeds.  They grab their recording sheet out of the tray and draw what their plant looks like.  I have the students show me their papers so they continue to get feedback on accurately recording their observations. Click here for a sample observation sheet. 


10 minutes

We continue observing the seeds until all seeds are germinated.  At this time, we talk about what happened during the previous days.  The students are able to answer questions about when certain things happened by looking at their recording sheet.  For example:

On what day did you notice your bean’s outer shell or seed coat split?

On what day did you notice the root?

On what day did you see the leaves?

This is an important step because I want the students to understand that their observation can be referred to and used to help them answer questions.

I then pass out the prediction sheet that the students filled out at the begin of this investigation (included in this lesson).  I have them look at their sheets and compare their prediction to what actually happened to the bean.  I ask them if their prediction is accurate.  See Video.  This will be a great lead up to a future lesson where the students plant the sprouts in soil.