Freshmen track plant growth in Biology

A hands-on study of chlorophyll


Cosette Zielinski

While learning how different light levels affect the process of photosynthesis, freshmen in Biology have started planting lima beans.

“We started doing this experiment last Tuesday and we are playing it by ear on how long we are going to be continuing it for,” Biology teacher Christina Bousema said. “Some beans have sprouted and shown results, while others have died or shown no results or not quite germinating.”

The beans are being grown in two separate environments–dependent and independent light. Students are using a color pigment tracker app called World of Color to compare between the two beans.

“This experiment is difficult, due to the fact that you have to make sure every measurement is perfect so each plant is in a controlled environment,” freshman Kaila Elder said. “Even though it’s difficult, seeing how a plant can exceed expectations through only being in one environment helped me learn about how life can work.”

Bousema has previously done this experiment when she was a teacher aid at Mojave High School. This time, Bousema has found challenges when it comes to having her students create their own procedures.

“Working out the kinks is hard, Bousema said. “With my honors classes, I made them make their own procedure, whereas, with my regular classes, I gave them a specific set of steps. Seeing the difference in results just from different procedures is really cool.”

Although the end date of the experiment has not been determined yet, is expected to be within the next two weeks. At the end of the experiment, students will measure the height of the bean and overall growth.

“I have learned moral lessons, like how you should be responsible when growing and watering beans, as well as plants can’t grow on five drops of water,” freshman Aaron Blum said. “Even with my limited success so far, I would do this again, but better prepare to grow my beans.”

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