Fruit or Vegetable? Science Activities
- Students will compare the characteristics of vegetables and fruits.
- Students will observe, describe and draw the parts and life cycle of vegetables.
- Students will observe the capillary effect in some vegetables.
- Students will explore the needs of vegetable plants.
Discuss the botanical definition of a fruit with students and explain that the definition of a vegetable is more a folk term than a scientific one. Ask them to create Venn diagrams to compare and contrast vegetables and fruits. Extend the lesson by having the students use their diagrams to write compare/contrast essays.
“Plant" vegetable seeds in resealable plastic bags by placing the seeds between the side of the bag and a dampened paper towel. Ask students to observe and record the changes each day. At the end of the project, ask students to sketch and label the plant’s parts before they transplant it to soil.
Help students understand how the roots and veins of plants work by “dying" celery with food coloring. Place a stalk of celery, with the bottom 1/4- to 1/2-inch removed (but preferably with the leaves remaining), into a glass containing water and food coloring. Ask students to record their observations as the color rises into the stalk and leaves.
Divide students into pairs and provide each with matching vegetable plants (2 tomato plants, 2 bell peppers, etc.). Each pair should design and carry out an experiment to determine the effect of watering, feeding, light or other elements on their plants, using one as a control. For example, one group might water one plant with tap water and the other with a different liquid; a group might place a plant near the window and another in a closed cabinet.