Plant Light Maze

Plant Light Maze

Have you ever noticed how plants grow toward the light? Build this simple light maze, and watch the plant grow around the obstacles to reach the light! Try experimenting with different mazes and see how the plant reacts. Can your plant complete its maze?

Ages:
9 - 16
Est. Time:
<30 mins

How we did it:

Materials List

  1. seeds - fast-growing, like beans
  2. soil
  3. cup
  4. box - like shoebox
  5. paper
  6. tape or glue
  7. x-acto knife
  8. pencil
  9. ruler
  1. Gather your materials!

  2. Prepare your plant. We picked a bean because it grows pretty quickly. Plant the seed in a cup of dirt (about 1 inch under the surface) and add water so that the dirt is moist.


    You may want to plant several cups ahead of time to make sure the bean sprouts.


    Optional: Place the plant near a windowsill and wait a few days until a small plant sprouts. This will ensure you are starting the experiment with a good seed.

  3. Now it's time to create the light maze!

    Start by cutting a large hole at the top of your box. This acts as the exit of your maze.

  4. Close your box and make sure nothing obscures the hole you just made. If needed, cut off any blocking material and open the box back up.

  5. Measure the inside of the box to create a divider. Add about a 1/2-inch border to three sides. Those will act as a glue flap in the later steps. Make sure you use a thick paper that does not let light through. We first tried using white cardstock, but found that it did not block the light out. So, we switched to a thick, black cardstock.

  6. Draw and cut out a circle in the divider, on the opposite side of the hole at the top of the box.


  7. Place your plant cup inside the box, and glue or tape in the shelf above the plant cup.


    The fun part of this project is designing your own maze, we decided to go with a single divider, but you can get creative! Just make sure you don't block off the light completely.


    Note: We also cut out a white backboard just so we could see the plant better.

  8. Close the box up and place it near a window.

    Now watch your plant grow! Make sure to keep your plant well hydrated. Check back every day and see your plant travel through the light maze.


    What's happening?

    Plants grow toward the light as a way of generating more energy through photosynthesis.

    So how do the plants grow toward the light? Plants contain a hormone called auxin, which causes plant cells to grow longer. Plant cells on the shady side of a plant contains more auxin hormones, making the plant bend toward the light as the cells in the shade elongate.