Science can be fun when you can use nature as your tools. Here are 3  experiments to do this spring!

Seedling Race

Here's a great activity to get kids excited about growing plants and to practice close observation skills. Choose 3-6 different types of seeds, and plant them in the same soil on the same day. Record which seeds you planted, and then make and record predictions about which one will sprout first and which one will grow to 3 inches tall first. Check your seeds every day to see if your predictions are correct!

Open & Close Pinecone

What causes a pine cone to open? When a cone-bearing tree is ready to open up its cones it does so by stopping the flow of water to the cone. As the cone dries out the scales dehydrate, which causes them to change shape and open up. You can reverse this by soaking a cone in water. After awhile the scales will close back up until it dries out again. You can open and close the cone over and over again!


What controls the color of grass? What other colors can it be besides green? What effect does light have the color of grass? These questions can be explored in a simple home experiment. All you need is a patch of grass (and permission to turn some of it yellow), 1 quart of water, and medium-to-large pot or bowl. Choose a spot in the grass where you will place the bowl and feel the soil. If it is dry pour the water over the grass then place the bowl in the grass and let it sit for 10 days. After 10 days, remove the bowl and observe any color changes.

The grass likely turned yellow, but why? The green color of the grass comes from the green pigment called chlorophyll. Plants stop making chlorophyll when they are not exposed to light. As the levels of chlorophyll go down the other pigments become more visible. Carotene (an orange pigment) and xanthophyll (a yellow pigment) are two other prominent pigments found in plants and when the green chlorophyll is gone they get to shine in the spotlight and give the plant a yellow look.

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