Growing Beans – Science at Home

We have been very busy here at Life At The Zoo.. but not always had the time to share our activities – such as this Growing Beans activity. We have lots of photos to share and will hopefully do so over the coming days and weeks. We have been particularly busy with Gardening with Kids, and exploring “Growing” Science activities. Today’s activity, has a little twist on the simple, easy and fun “Growing Beans” experiment.

Bean Growing - Science fo Kids

A wonderful image showing the classic “Bean Growing” observations – you can see the roots forming and the shoot and leaves going up “stretching” towards the light.

We decided to watch beans grow… but we also decided to see what happens if you keep one bean in darkness and one in the light. Would one grow quicker than the other? Would one grow BETTER than the other? Let’s see….

Bean Growing with kids1) Use a glass  or a jar of a clear plastic cup for your growing beans experiment.

2) Line it with kitchen towel paper or cotton wool buds. Then tuck your bean (it can be any bean – a broad bean or a runner bean – between the glass and the tissue.  We actually prepped 6 beans like this “just in case”.

3) Squirt with plenty of water. You want the tissue to wet, but you don’t want the bean to swimming in water – in case it gets mouldy.

4) We placed on glass into a “cardboard box” to darken it and to see what would happen.

Now wait. And make sure the towel stays moist!!!

Growing Bean Experiment – Results

After 2-3 days our beans started to grow. Interestingly… not all beans “hatched” at the same time. In fact some took well over a week. BUT, ONE of the beans in the dark, and ONE NOT in the dark started sprouting at the same time.

This tells us, that the light has little to do with it. The bean itself contains enough energy for it to start growing – the growth is stimulated by the wet and the temperature around the bean – telling the bean it is time to grow.

We continued to keep one been in darkness and one in light. Look at the difference:

Bean Growing Experiment - Science for Kids


I would say that the difference is minimal. Yes, the bean grown in the light has a few more leaves. But then the bean on the left grew better than some of our other “test beans” that DID get light. I would not say that the growth or colour difference is significant enough to say, that light is necessary for the bean to grow well at this stage.

All the bean needs is water, a warm environment and the energy stored within.

You could argue that “this makes sense”. As the bean buried in the earth, doesn’t get light either. It is only once it breaks through the surface, that it starts to stretch and reach out towards the light.

After this, we planted all the beans out in the garden 3-4 weeks later they are quite tall already and have started to bloom. We look forward to the broad beans beginning to from!

Your little scientist may also enjoy these DIY Catapults!



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