1/2 bag of pinto beans
Rye grass seeds
Paper cups
Clear plastic cups
Celery (3 sticks per group)
Red food coloring


Soak the pinto beans overnight in water.  Slice the celery into sticks, keeping the leaves intact.

Anatomy of a pinto
Pass out a pinto bean to each student.  Have the students take off the seed cover, break the seed in half, and identify parts such as the epicotyl, hilium, and micropyle.  Explain what the purpose of each part is.  Explain the difference between a monocot and a dicot.  If might be a good idea to create a diagram that shows where each of these parts is located and what each looks like.

Red leafed celery?
Have the students tape the cups together with the masking tape.  Try (it will be difficult) to keep the cups as flat on the table as possible.  Next, fill half of one cup with water and half of the other cup with water that has been colored by the red food coloring.  Take three slices of celery.  Place one in the regular water, one in the red water, and slice the last piece down the middle and put it in both cups.  Ask the students what they think will happen to each.

Let's grow some stuff
Take a Dixie cup for each student and fill it with soil.  Sprinkle some rye grass seed on the top and place about 1/8 inch soil over the top.  Sprinkle a little water over the top and PRESTO!  You'll have plants growing in a few days.

Next, have the students place a couple of pieces of damp paper towel inside a clear plastic cup.  Give each student approximately 10 pinto beans and tell them to spread the beans throughout the cup by placing them between the paper towel and the sides.  Within about 4 days, you'll be able to watch the germination process of a pinto bean.  Keep the paper towel damp.  About 4 days after that, a stalk will develop and should be a few inches in length.

Shawn Len, 2000.