Friday, November 9, 2012

Part 2: How can you grow a potato plant without a seed?

Several weeks have passed since I posted about our science guided inquiry activity involving potatoes. Thankfully, the experiment is over and the classroom smells better. Yes, beware of 2 week old potatoes fermenting in the classroom! Stinky aroma aside, we learned some interesting things after completing the experiment. On our Day 7 observation, there wasn't a whole lot to report. A few of the potatoes had begun sprouting tiny buds in a few places on the skin. The students made and recorded their observations. We shared some of our inferences about the water traveling through the inside and skin of the potato and helping new buds to form. The students also recorded predictions about what they might see on Day 14.
Day 14 is when we finally observed some real changes. Here are a few photos of our 2 week old potatoes--

The students recorded their observations.

Aside from the buds, we noticed the smell. We actually noticed the smell a few days earlier. They smell like they are rotting. We talked about the exposure of the inside of the potato to the water and the air. We discussed why the buds continued to grow and theorized about what we might see if we let these go another week. In fact, a couple students volunteered to take the potatoes home but I suspect they went into the garbage when parents saw/smelled them. The students learned a lot about making obsrvations, conducting a study, recording information, and making inferences and predictions. Good work all around!

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