Students are never too young to do inquiry-based science! How does the pH of water affect seed germination? 4th/5th grade teachers at Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School Sabrina Walters and Shelly Hughes led their students through an experiment to find out. Upper Arlington High School teacher Wendy Pinta’s biology students then analyzed the data. GrowNextGen and the Ohio Soybean Council provided supplies to help with their activities.

The students put 3 soybeans in a baggie, then added several cotton balls that had been soaked in different liquids (vinegar water, lime juice water, distilled water, and baking soda water). They made hypotheses about what would cause the greatest number of seeds to germinate in the shortest period of time. The students kept data charts to track germination times and rates.

“The investigation was great,” Hughes said. “We were in a unit about Human Impact on Earth, so it fit very well with what we were studying. We also talked about the scientific method and made hypotheses. We collected the data in the chart and discussed the results.”

The conversation included the fact that soybeans are a large part of Ohio’s economy. Students were challenged to consider how pH in rainwater might affect soybean growth.

This is a great classroom activity for your student scientists! Try it!