Pre-Activity 0.2PT: Plants Growth Investigation Setup (45-60 min)

Target Student Performance

Students will make initial measurements of the dry mass of radish seeds and growth media and start plants growing.

Resources You Provide

  • Small (e.g. 7X10 cm or ramekin) aluminum container (1 per student group)
  • 20 radish seeds (1 per student group)
  • 15 cm of cotton yarn (1 per student group)
  • Brown paper towel (1 roll or 2-3 sheets each student group) Note: brown, unbleached paper towel is required
  • Markers/masking tape to label containers (1 per student group)
  • A balance to measure masses (1 per student group)
  • Large trays with at least 5 cm sides to put the containers in and hold water.(enough for all containers per class)
  • Grow lights (highly recommended)
  • 1 L of water (for starting seeds)
  • 4 L of water with dilute nutrients. (E.g. Ionic Grow, Miracle Grow, etc.) for use once seeds have sprouted.

Resources Provided



1. Use the instructional model to show students where they are in the course of the unit.


There is no assessment for this activity since students are simply setting up an experiment to learn from later on.


  • If many of your students seem convinced that plants will not grow without soil nutrients, you may want to grow some radishes in other environments (like clear gel, or a petri dish) to demonstrate otherwise.
  • Allow students to take pictures of what they are putting into their containers and as their plants grow as a reference for later on after plant growth.


You can increase or decrease the level of complexity of the math problems students need to do here in order to calculate initial dry mass. For instance, students can calculate the mass of a single radish seed or calculate the dry mass per unit volume of nutrients in the nutrient solution.

Extending the Learning

Have students make regular observations of their seeds as they grow over the next 2-3 weeks. These observations can be recorded in Pre-Lesson 0.2PT Plant Growth Investigation Setup Worksheet.