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Planting The Seeds of Knowledge

John Fedors -  

Lesson Summary:
This activity should take approximately 15-minutes to set up. However, observations and recordings for daily journals may take place over several days/weeks.

OBJECTIVE: Recording observations of cotton seed germination in a clear colorless supportive environment. Standards to be addressed: scientific inquiry, recording of observation data, measurement and graphing, communication skills, and environmental requirements for plants.

Planting cotton seeds, clear colorless cylinder container (2"x1" diameter), and Soil Moist (poly acrylimide crystals).

Use only the untreated planting seed. Purchase Soil Moist from any good local gardent shop. Collect clear cylinders from local laboratories (hospital, research, water testing, environmental), or any small colorless clear container can be used, plastic rather than glass, i.e. 1 liter soda bottle with the top cut off. In order to speed germination, soak seeds overnight in room temperature water. For the same results, place seeds in hot water until water reaches room temperature. However, DO NOT use boiling water.

Place a nonolayer of soil moist into the clear sylinder. Add room temperature water to 1" of container. After a few minutes add cotton seeds to the container, placing seeds slightly below the surface of the clear support medium. Observe and record findings in daily journals.

Compare the seed germination in light or dark environment. Use different types of water (tap, distilled, pond, spring, chlorinated, hard). Alter the pH of the growing environment. Try different temperatures. Vary the plant nutrients (fertilizer).

1. What conditions are required for seeds to germinate and plant embryos to grow?
2. Did all the seeds grow the same way?
3. How do you know if you planted the seed upside down?

American Pima cotton is a different type (species) of cotton than most cotton consumed worldwide. It is a premium cotton fiber that accounts for approximately 3% of all the cotton grown in the United States.

Better than 90% of all U.S. Pima cotton is grown in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Pima is a longer and stronger fiber which is spun into higher count yarns for better quality apparel, towels and sheets.

To learn more about the Pima crop, markets and promotional activities go to the Supima Association web site,

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