With little kids growing a bean stalk in a jar just like Jack and the Beanstalk is a really fun simple science experiment. They can observe the roots growing see the shoot and more. But that same experiment can be used with older children to explore plant growth in more detail. Although similar to toddler experiment this one is aimed at observing the plant growth and stages of development in dicotyledon plants. So here we go plant growth experiment with beans in a jar.
Beans in a Jar Growth Experiment for Kids
Beans are an ideal seed to use for this growth experiment with the kids and by using a glass jar instead of a pot you can observe the growth in situ from the first emerging root to the first real leaves.
This experiment takes place over a 2 week period and you will need to either have multiple jars set up so that you can compare the growth at the same time (as we demonstrate below) or remove, observe and journal as you go.
If you have younger kids then they can do this too – why not try our Jack and the Beanstalk Science Experiment.
Growth of Plants from the Seed
Plants need water to grow from a seed. The water is absorbed by the seed coating and that swells allowing the embryonic seed to emerge. The seed embryo has 2 points that develop and a large bean seed is ideal for showing these easily to kids.
First, the root tip grows and by geotropism (the process where the root grows down and the shoot grows up) it grows downwards. This root then divides at multiple points to allow more and more root development to let the plant take up the dissolved nutrients into the stem and to the leaves, flowers and fruit as needed.
As the roots develop the second part of the embryo starts to develop forming the shoot and the first leaves. On a bean these are the “seed leaves” and don’t look like the leaves of the plant.
Once these 2 leaves are formed the stem grows up between them and the first true leaves appear.
Seed Germination Activity Pack ~ $5.00
Project pack for kids to explore seed germination and plant growth.
Beans in a Jar Experiment
Observing this is so simple to do and is great for kids to record their observations as they go. You could even set up a camera and take images at regularly intervals and show the development using timelapse or stop motion type software that is free on most tablets and phones.
Materials Needed for this Plant Growth Experiment
- Glass Jar
- Bean Seeds (broad or runner beans)
- Paper towel
- Science Journal, notebook or Seed Growth Printable (available in the seed germination pack or free to subscribers below)
FREE Printable Seed Observation Journal
Get a printable seed observation journal and activities and ideas for your kids
Setting up your Plant Germination Observation Jar
This is the method for observing all stages at the end. You will be repeating the stages at 3 day intervals so that you can have a number of stages to lay out and observe at the same time.
1. Place the paper towel in the clean glass jar.
2. On the outside of the jar between the paper and glass place 3 beans, we use 3 beans so that have the greatest likely hood of them growing.
3. Water the paper towel thoroughly
4. Place the jar in a light but not under direct sun area and keep watered.
5. After 3 days add in 3 more beans.
6. Repeat step 5 until you can observe the different stages from the seed casing swelling to the first 2 real leaves forming.
Recording the Growth
Whether you use our seed journal page from the activity pack above, our free to subscribers seed journal, notebook or science journal the process is the same.
Using a HB pencil draw the different stages of germination of the seed. The full stages are below but you can pick as many of them as you wish.
Stage 1 - Seed casing swelling and breaking
Stage 2 - Embryonic root emerging and descending
Stage 3 - Root development spreading out and forming branches
Stage 4 - Embryonic shoot emerging and the seed casing breaking apart
Stage 5 - First 2 seed leaves
Stage 6 - First true leaves of the bean formed
More Plant Science Experiments for Kids
Want to learn more about plants then try some of these other plant science experiments for kids
- Dissect a flower to learn about sexual reproduction in flowering plants
- Investigate how new plants can grow from old with a carrot top experiment
- See how plants drink with our Celery Plant Transpiration Experiment
Plant Science in the Rainy Day Mum Shop
Plant Growth Activity Pack ~ $5.00
Plant Cells & Photosynthesis ~ $5.00
Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.