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The power of sprouts

December 2nd, 2003 · No Comments

Tomorrow at last we return the book Science Mini-Mysteries to the library. This book is also by Sandra Markle: I previously blogged about her Super Science Secrets .

The girls and I have had fun with many of the ideas. The other day I covered candles with various sized jars and showed Abigail how flames need air in order to burn. She also had fun using a balloon to lift a book. Tonight we did a couple last ones. We planted beans to grown in darkness and in light. We also fed sugar to yeast and watched it bubble. Abigail and Michaela got excited, calling me to “Come see!”

One experiment that we did involved placing dry beans into medicine bottles, adding water to fill, and then closing the cap. The principle behind “Bean Magic” was that, left overnight, the beans would begin to sprout, growing bigger and bursting the bottle. Apparently the force of the sprouts is so strong, that bags of soaked beans once burst the hull of a torpedoed ship during WWII. The book told the short story how a ship continued on its way after being damaged, but the wet bags of beans began to swell. “Eventually the pressure became so great that the ship’s hull split open and the ship sank.” Wow, what a torpedo couldn’t do, some bags of beans did!

Our version though has yet to be so explosive or powerful. The beans in the bottles are pretty wet but they have not yet burst the plastic. I don’t see any sprouts. Perhaps the child-proof caps are too tight. I think too that perhaps without much air, the beans are unable to sprout. The beans on the ship in bags probably had more air, while the beans in our jars are rotting anaerobically, or at least that’s what it smells like: stink! At least that’s my theory of the moment. I’ll let them sit a while longer, just in case. I really wanted to see it happen – I thought it was a great illustration of the power of sprouts!

Tags: books