Experiment: How Deep Should You Plant a Seed to Get the Best Growth?

Seed Inquiry - Watching Seeds Grow in a Seed Viewer - An Everyday Story

Seed Inquiry - Watching Seeds Grow in a Seed Viewer - An Everyday Story

This experiment comes from a great new book called The Curious Kid’s Science Book by Asia Citro. It’s a little different to a lot of other science books for kids that I have used. The experiments are very open-ended. There isn’t a lot of step-by-step instructions or explanations of scientific concepts – stick with me, that’s a good thing – instead kids are encouraged use their own innate curiosity to lead their own experiments.

The book poses a question, things to consider while running the experiment and ideas for collecting data, but then leaves the rest open to the child. How the child runs the experiment is entirely up to them.

The book has a great chapter on exploring plants and seeds including looking at how plants grow and what they need to grow well.

Lately the kids and I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen garden. We’ve planted beans and peas, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, corn and capsicum. We have such lovely conversations in the garden while we’re planting; there’s so much to enjoy and learn when you’re pottering around the garden together.

Sarah, in particular, always has a lot of questions; what seed is this? How much compost do we need? What is compost? How do you know when the carrots are ready? How deep do we plant the seeds? 

It’s nice to be able to talk together but it is also nice to try some experiments and see if Jack and Sarah can find some of the answers for themselves.

Hands-on Science Experiments for Kids: Have you ever wondered how deep you should plant a seed to get the best growth? In this experiment, you can use a root viewer to watch seeds grow, make predictions and collect data. From An Everyday Story: Inquiry-based HomeschoolingSo, how deep do you have to plant a seed to get the best growth? Isn’t that a great question for investigation. Jack (6.5 yrs) and Sarah (4.5 yrs) were so enthusiastic about this experiment.

I found this wonderful seed viewer in a Facebook group and presented it along with some seeds, soil and our lifecycle of a green bean plant figurines. The kids wondered…how deep should we plant the seeds?

Jack: “Not too deep. The plant needs sun. The seed can’t get to the sun if it’s down the bottom.” 

Sarah: “Here’s a good spot. The plant can grow up from here.”

Seed Inquiry - Watching Seeds Grow in a Seed Viewer - An Everyday Story Seed Inquiry - Watching Seeds Grow in a Seed Viewer - An Everyday StoryI try to encourage Jack and Sarah to document their work – it really allows them to show their understanding of the experiment as well as encourages purposeful writing. Sarah’s says, I think Sarah’s seed (will grow the best). Jack’s is written in true Jack style with lots of arrows, lines, numbers and little coded drawings. I love that he thinks one seed will grow into a strawberry and that Sarah’s seed will wilt if it’s not watered.

Seed Inquiry - Watching Seeds Grow in a Seed Viewer - An Everyday Story Seed Inquiry - Watching Seeds Grow in a Seed Viewer - An Everyday StoryI have a large whiteboard fixed to the wall at child height in our homeschool studio which is our wonder board. I use it to keep track of any inquiries or experiments we are doing – we add pictures, questions, data, that sort of thing.

Here, for this experiment, we are using it to keep track of our seeds’ growth. The book suggests some questions you can pose to your children while running the experiment and collecting data, including:

  • How many seeds will you use?
  • What depths are you going to use?
  • How long will you run the experiment? and
  • How will you measure the growth?

Seed Inquiry - Watching Seeds Grow in a Seed Viewer - An Everyday StoryThe kids have decided they will run the experiment for two weeks. They’ll check on it everyday and water the seeds every second day. And Jack had an awesome idea of how we can record the data (if you follow us on Instagram, you can probably guess what it is). I can’t wait to show you that one.

And check out the book, if you can. I’ve really been enjoying it. There’s experiments for plants, water, bacteria, engineering, environmental science, chemical reactions with baking soda and investigating living things. It’s great.

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8 Replies to “Experiment: How Deep Should You Plant a Seed to Get the Best Growth?”

  1. What a great experiment. And so practical too. I love that root viewer. It looks amazing!!

    1. Thank you 🙂 The seeds are growing so quickly – we can’t quite keep up with them! It’s so fascinating to watch.

  2. Wonderful! I always love to see what you guys are up to. Hope one day we can do the same – so hard with a 14 month old (who has never needed much sleep – but I do!!) and limited quality resources.
    Spielgaben decided to ship a limited amount sets to South Africa! (Happy dance!) can’t wait to get out in a month or so.

    I wanted to ask – how do I get my almost 4 year old to draw and document what we are doing? She flat out refuses – she does not want to draw or even attempt drawing. Is this normal? I don’t put pressure on her, I don’t suggest she do anything or make suggestions about her scribbles if she does. She wants me to do it! Did you lead the way in the beginning ? Should I also be drawing with her?
    Thanks!

    1. That is just so great that you have been able to get a Spielgaben set. So exciting. I hope you love it. We LOVE ours and use it every day. With the documenting, it’s been easier with Sarah – since she sees Jack doing it – than it was with Jack. Jack honestly didn’t see the point of documenting, he would say things like, ‘that’s ok mama, I’ll remember what it is, I don’t need to write it.’ But then Jack developed a real love of drawing and so it all sort of took off from there.

      I don’t think it’s too uncommon for children not to want to write or draw. Is there another ‘language’ that she likes to express herself in? Maybe she might like taking photos, or making short videos? Or maybe she might like to paint a picture, or collage? Anything at all which encourages her to make her thinking visible – 3D model making with clean recyclables? anything at all – will help her to think more deeply about her inquiries, ask more questions and try new things.

      1. Oh yes of course, she loves taking pictures and she’s pretty good at it too!! Just recently gave her an old digital camera to play with – fascinating results.
        Thanks – I love documenting what I do with the kids via taking pictures on my phone , so she’s obviously following suit.
        Thanks for pointing it out to me. Xx

  3. Hi!
    I love following your blog.
    Where can I find the root viewer from or what is it called so that I can search for it?

    Thank you!

    1. I ordered it from a person in the Homeschool Australia Facebook group. It was something that I stumbled upon. I am sorry but I am not sure what her name was now. But I have seen different root viewers on Amazon and other online stores if you wanted to search. I haven’t tried them, so don’t know the quality, but here are a few I found on Amazon – this one, and this one, and this one.

      1. Thank you so much Kate. Have a blessed Christmas 🙂

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