Botany is the science of plants, and one aspect of plant science is investigating plant growth. High school students should have a good, basic knowledge of how plants grow, but there are a number of more advanced experiments that focus on plant growth that are suitable for high school students.
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Students can investigate the effect of electricity on plant growth. Each student should fill two pots with equal amounts of soil, label the pots A and B, then plant 10 radish seeds in each pot. Students should place two copper rods into opposite sides of pot A. Both pots should be watered equally and placed together to get the same amount of light. The copper rods in pot A will be attached to a DC9v battery for five minutes every day. The experiment should continue for three weeks and the plants measured once a week.
Each student should fill 30 pots with soil, then label 10 pots "radish 0 to 9," "green bean 0 to 9" and "chilli 0 to 9." Five seeds should be placed in each pot, according to the label, then watered and allowed to germinate. After five days, students should label 10 beakers "0 to 9." Exactly 0.1 grams of crushed vitamin D tablets should be added to beaker one, 0.2 grams to beaker two, continuing until 0.9 grams are added to beaker nine. Each pot should be watered with the correctly numbered beaker for the next 10 days. For example, "chilli 5" should be watered from beaker 5, containing 0.5 grams of vitamin D. After 10 days, all plants should be measured and the average calculated.
Students can use tomato, corn and onion plants to investigate the effect of different species being planted closely together, known as companion planting. Students should label five pots A to E. Three tomato seeds should be placed in pot A, three onions in pot B, three corn seeds in pot C, three tomato seeds and three onions in pot D, and three tomato seeds and three corn seeds in pot E. On the 10th day, all plants should be measured and the average height calculated.
Students should fill 15 pots with soil and one to three radish seeds, separated into five groups of three and labelled group A to E. Group A plants should be watered with 33 per cent of the recommended amount of fertiliser, group B plants with 66 per cent, group C plants with 100 per cent, group D with 133 per cent and group E with 166 per cent. After 10 days, students should measure each plant and calculate the average growth.
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