Student Sheet 5 – Investigating Seed Germination


This is a simple experiment to investigate the germination of seed under different conditions, by growing seeds upright in Petri dishes. While simple enough to be used at KS2, the practical can be used for investigations at GCSE and post-16.

The experiment allows students to make quantitative measurements of root / shoot growth, length of root hairs, etc, as well as % germination. By rotating the dishes, some tropic effects can also be investigated.

This technique can be used to investigate the effects of acid rain and its effects on germination, by filling the reservoir with an appropriate solution.

Cress seeds are often used for germination experiments, but we find that white mustard (Brassica alba) seed is generally cheaper and easier to handle, and somewhat more reliable in germination.


Download the student sheet and teachers’ notes from the links on the right.

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