Plants Can Grow Without the Sun? Fox Students Uncover the Truth

It’s common knowledge all plants need water and sunlight to grow. Right?

Mrs. Lake wanted to test this common perception. She could have easily discovered online there are several plant species that can thrive without sunlight and made a PowerPoint for the students.

Instead, she allowed her students to bare witness to the cultivation of marigold plants without the seemingly necessary nutrients for their own eyes to see.

Before the experiment, one seventh grader hypothesized the plants could grow without sunlight.

“Last summer, I had three lilies in my backyard and a cabbage plant next to it. I put a bowl over them for the winter and they still grew. They got so big that our family had to use a big bucket, so that’s how I knew.” Lydia Haggard, seventh grader at Sierra Nevada Academy Charter School said.

Lydia used her prior experience to make an informed opinion. What was her reasoning for her own plants growing in her backyard? “Science!”

On the other hand, the eighth grade class believed the marigold plants could not grow without sunlight.

“We thought for a plant to get food, it has to have water and sunlight. That’s basic stuff,” Natalie Enk said.

Apparently, it’s not. Two jars of marigold plants were used to test these hypotheses. One marigold plant received water with sunlight and one without.

Students noticed marigold plants with sunlight resembled a darker green color with a thicker stem.
The marigold plants without sunlight were a noticeably lighter green with a thinner stem.

After a week of observation, both classes concluded the plants that do not receive sunlight to carry out photosynthesis will not look as aesthetically pleasing as the plants that do.

“This experiment was a cool way to teach the scientific method to students and enlighten them on the different kinds of plant species. I didn’t expect the plants without sunlight to grow myself, so it was a learning experience for all of us,” Mrs. Lake said.

To learn more about Sierra Nevada Academy Charter School, contact the front office at 775-677-4500 or online on Facebook (@SierraNevadaAcademy), Twitter/Instagram (@SNACSNevada).