This germination investigation is very simple but fascinating. Did you know you can grow a bean in a jar with just a little water? Germination is the sprouting of a seedling from a seed.
What is germination?
Three factors are important for germination.
Water – seeds need water for germination to occur. When a seed absorbs water, it starts to swell up, the outer coat of the seed cracks and roots start to grow through.
Oxygen – oxygen is needed for a plant to grow (oxygen is needed for respiration to occur ). Seeds buried too deeply in the soil won’t grow.
Temperature – the temperature can be important ( warm or cold ) depending on the type of seed.
Once a seedling has used all the nutrients from the seed, it then needs to take nutrients from the soil. Once your seed has germinated and grown a little bit, you’ll need to transfer it into a pot of soil.
Light is not needed for germination but is needed for a plant to grow.
Roots grow downwards to anchor the plant in the ground and find nutrients, and shoots grow upwards to find light.
How to grow a bean in a jar
What you need
- A broad bean seed
- Kitchen roll or a napkin
- Swirl a small amount of water around the jar.
- Fold your napkin or kitchen roll and place it in the jar ( we made the kitchen roll very slightly damp also ).
- Place the bean seed in the jar resting on the napkin.
- Spray some water on the bean every few days.
The bean should start to grow roots after a few days. This is called germination.
We kept one bean in the dark and one in the light. Both seeds germinated and grew into small bean plants. This shows that light is not necessary for germination.
You can see here that the plant grown in the dark is slightly less green than the one grown in the light. We have seen this before when growing cress.
What amazes me the most is that all this can grow from one tiny seed with no additional nutrients other than those contained in the bean itself.
After a few days in the light, the bean plant kept in the dark was as luscious a green colour as its counterpart.
Bean in a jar instructions
Download the instructions completely free!
More plant science
Little ones will enjoy growing a bean for Jack and the Beanstalk.
Inspiration Laboratories has a lovely plant science experiment growing seeds in different soil types, such as sand and stones.
Playdough to Plato has a gorgeous sprout house!
Another idea is to dissect a plant or try one of our other fun plant science experiments for kids.
Key Stage 1 Science – Plants
Identify and describe the basic structure of a variety of common flowering plants, including trees.
Last Updated on March 29, 2023 by Emma Vanstone
You keep coming up with really inspiring ideas. Thankyou!
So glad you like them!
I love this idea. It is so much better than the ziploc bag on the window. (Maybe it is just me, but those always get so nasty.
Plus it would be great to have where the students could see actually grow and record the height.
oooh yes, what a good idea!
It is fascinating and beautiful! We have to try this!
It was great! and so simple x
Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum
We love this activity. Ours is growing strong and we’re going to try transferring into the soil and growing further now
Thank you for linking to Tuesday Tots this week
love this idea.. will find some jars x
How fun!! I love the lessons where they get to see the roots that would be underground. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday! I hope you are having a great week!
Ooh great way to use my jars! Now to get some beans x
We grew a bean in a glass Mason jar for each kid a couple months ago. Can you believe they ate still thriving? One even grew a bean pod with beans in it. I should transfer them to a pot with soil.
I would like to know just why this works. Why is the one kept in the dark white? I know it has something to do with light. And why did it grow faster that the one in the light? Thank you!
Hi there, can you use any seed for this?