Why Plants Require light, CO2 and the role of N2O

You probably do not know it but chances are that in your son or daughter lurks an investigative scientist, one who wants to investigate the reasons why things are the way they are. Now, every child loves growing things and they love exploring the world around them. One of the funniest ways for you to engage your children in science is to help them nurture and study the behavior of growing plants. Plants are the key in the mystery that is the world Рthey do their part in the transforming of global gases and the locking up of Carbon Dioxide and Nitrous Oxide  plus they play their part in moving around the H2O that is also a global gas.That will be fun and easy to do. Investigate what phototropism is. Plants need sunlight to grow and they will they compete for it. You can help your children arrange a very simple project to ascertain that in fact, plants do need light to grow.


Things you will need

  • Crates
  • Enough soil to fill the crates
  • Water
  • Seeds
  • Trowel
  • An enclosed area/part of a room with windows


As a parent, you have to remember not to be too involved. It is time that you let the children start discovering things for themselves. What do you need to do? You need to help the children know what they will need for their project and may be help them prepare things. You also need to pinpoint a place in the shed or in the garden where they will carry out the experiment.


What needs to be done?

This is the fun part, but it will require the patience of the children and sometimes they are just not too patient. You need to explain to them that things require time to grow, both animals and people.


For phototropism, corn/maize seeds would be best. The children should prepare the soil in the crates, fill plant their seeds and water them every day. During the germination period, the parent can explain what is happening to the seed in the soil and so when the first nibble shoots wiggle through the soil, it will be a time for excitement.


Make sure that the children keep notes. Since the day they started the job to the day they finish, they should keep accounts. Even when the seed is in the soil and nothing is happening on the surface, they should still record something.


After germination comes the fun time; let the children take one crate of growing corn plants and place that by the window where there is more light and the other crate should be kept in a dark corner of the room, where there is no light. Again, plants in both crates should be watered, in the right way of course, at the base of the plant rather than pouring water on the leaves. The plants should be allowed a few days, perhaps a week for effects to show. The addition of some nitrous oxide to the root system of the plants has an interesting effect because it will power up all of those bacteria that lurk in the soil doing their bit in the nitrous oxide cycle whilst the plant is working its way through the carbon dioxide for its part in the carbon cycle.


After a few days, if they did everything right, the plants in the crate that is exposed to the light will be lush with the best greenest color while those in the dark will be yellowish and sickly. Why? Because they lacked light. This is the best illustration that one can give their children and as they grow up, they will never forget it. Good thing is that it is a simplistic project that can be handled by children of all age.