Will These Grow?
- Explain the basics of the germination process
- Perform a germination test independently
Many varieties of seeds take days if not weeks to germinate and emerge from the ground indicating a viable planting. So wouldn’t it be a good idea to know ahead of time if the seeds are viable? Most gardeners would say so.
Germination testing is a simple way to test the viability of seed whether it’s newly purchased, received in trade, or recently discovered in the dark corners of the garden shed. Testing can be performed with just a few household items, a sample of seeds, and a little time.
A warm spot in the kitchen or classroom out of the reach of direct sun will serve as the lab but very little else needs to be controlled with any scientific accuracy. It’s easy to manage the test and bring viable seeds from dormancy to germination.
Tools & Materials
- Paper towels
- Resealable bags
- Permanent marker
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson by describing the germination process. Seeds need perfect conditions to leave their dormancy and begin to germinate. The germination test aims to provide those conditions so that seeds will germinate and viability can be determined.
Activity (20 minutes)
Position students at tables where they can have a small workspace to themselves and provide them with a small bowl of water, a paper towel, a resealable bag, marker, and some seeds. Have them create their tests as described in the Related Article “Testing Your Old Seed”. Each Student should mark their bags with their name, the date, and the type of seed being tested.
Discussion (10 minutes)
How long do you think it will take for these seeds to germinate? How many seeds do you think will germinate out of the 10 that you are testing?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you know how seeds germinate?
- Now that you know how the germination process works, how many of you think you could explain the process to someone else?
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