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  • Gloria Hoffner

Potatoes follow the sun

Thanksgiving is coming so here is a potato experiment!

Materials: fresh potato with eyes starting to grow, potting soil, small clay pot, shoe box, scissors, construction paper and tape.

Process: Place the soil and potato in the clay pot at one end of the box. Cut a circle in the opposite side of the long edge of the shoe box. Cut two pieces of construction paper each one inch shorter than the width of the shoe box. Attach the construction paper pieces inside the box between the potato and the circle opening so that one paper's shorter end is one at the top of the box and the second at the bottom of the box. This creates a 'maze' between the potato and the opening. Put the lid on the box and place the box next to a sunny window for one week.

Result: The potato vine will travel over and through the maze until it comes out the circle opening. This happens because plants have light sensitive cells which pull their growth in the direction of the light. What else do you notice? The growth will be white inside the box because the green chlorophyll we are used to seeing in plants can not form in the dark box. Remove the plant from the box and place on the the window. Observe how it changes the color of the new growth.

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