With our last post for our Garden Week on Storybook Summer this year we have a fantastic Science Experiment for kids. It was always one of my favourites to do in plant and human biology with the students in my class and is very easy to do. Looking for Starch in Vegetables based on the book Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert.
I love growing vegetables with kids because it gives them ownership in growing their own food. Often I find children are much more apt to try a new food when they have grown it themselves! Gardening with your students or children teaches many lessons, from plant life cycles to nutrition. This post includes a picture book suggestion to inspire your gardening, and a fun science experiment to learn more about the food you’ve grown.
Gardening does not have to be difficult or take up a lot of space. We grow potatoes in large garbage cans and tomatoes in pots. Raised beds can also be easy to maintain and great for small hands to work in. What will you do with your harvest? How about a nice pot of vegetable soup!
Storybook Summer Featured Book Growing Vegetable Soup
We have included links to books and products we used for this science experiment. If you buy via these links we may earn a small commission.
A wonderful introduction to growing food is Lois Ehlert’s picture book, Growing Vegetable Soup. In bright illustrations, the story depicts the planting of many vegetables that can be used to make soup. I love that there is a simple recipe included in the back. Be sure to find a copy when you are working to inspire children to help you in the vegetable garden.
Although we often use the term vegetable to describe a wide variety of food items that come from plants, vegetables are technically only the stems, leaves or roots of a plant. Anything with seeds is actually a fruit! The various plant parts provide different functions for the growing plant. Roots often contain a lot of starch, or stored energy for the plant to grow. Eating starchy food can give our bodies energy too.
Starch Science Experiment
A simple, yet engaging, science experiment to discover which fruits, vegetables, and other food items contain starch can be completed with just a few supplies.
After you harvest fruits and veggies from the garden and before you make your vegetable soup, try this starch science experiment.
Materials Needed for this Simple Plant Experiment to Determine if there is Starch Present
As with any science experiment, you should not consume any of the food items you are testing!
Testing for Starch in Fruit and Vegetables
- Cut and peel fruits and vegetables before you begin.
- With an eye dropper or pipette, drip a small drop of iodine on each sample. Be sure to include a potato, these are full of starch and will be sure to give your child great results.
- After you drip the iodine be patient and wait to see if it turns any of the samples a blue or black color.
The longer you wait, the more visible the results. If the iodine turns the food blue or black, you have detected starch in the food item. This is energy storage for the plant and energy for your body!
Extend this Plant Science Experiment
To further your learning, try these variations:
- Cook the fruits/vegetables before experimenting.
- Try food items other than fruits and vegetables, such as pasta, cereal, rice or crackers.
- Test leaves, bark, roots or other plant items from plants that you know are safe to touch.
- Puree the vegetable samples in the blender before you test them.
Sarah Benton Feitlinger, M.Ed. is a former Preschool-6th science teacher, mom, blogger and science writer, curriculum consultant and developer. She is passionate about educating children, and loves anything and everything science!
Check out her blog, Share it! Science for fun science, STEM and STEAM activities, lessons, book reviews and other resources for kids, teachers, homeschoolers, and parents.
Plant Growth Activity Pack ~ $5.00
Plant Cells & Photosynthesis ~ $5.00