Germination: Water for Life


BACKGROUND

Water is vitally important to physical life as we know it. In fact, living organisms are 60-90% water. The processes of life which take place inside organisms, from single cells to human beings, are dependent upon water. There is no doubt about the value of water to life! Water has properties that are very unique, due in large part to the chemical structure of water. Water interacts with both physical and living things in important ways. For example, a seed is very dry (only 5-20% water) and exhibits a very low amount of life activity. Several conditions have to be present for a dormant seed to germinate. In the process of germination, the tiny embryo plant inside begins to grow and breaks through the seed coat. One of the conditions necessary for germination is the presence of water. Water enters the seed in a process called imbibition. The seed drinks in water molecules which adhere (or stick) to the inner surfaces of the seed. This, in turn, results in swelling that is often quite dramatic. The seed, once in a state of suspended animation, then becomes a living, growing plant!

INVESTIGATION     

PLACE TO BEGIN:
How much water is taken up by seeds?  What is the effect of this intake of water? 

MATERIALS:
Various seeds (e.g. beans, peas, corn, nasturtium, sunflower); balance or postage scale; water-tight cups
Small cardboard box or milk carton molds; plaster of Paris, large seeds such as beans

DIRECTIONS:
Weigh some seeds and then place them in a cup of water. Allow them to soak overnight and then weigh them again to determine how much water was absorbed. (Pat them dry before weighing.)
                                                                                                                                                                                   Make two molds from a small cardboard box. Pour in a one-inch layer of plaster of Paris. To one, add a good number of dry seeds. After the plaster of Paris has hardened, place both plaster blocks in water overnight to find out how much pressure is exerted by the swelling seeds.

GOING FURTHER:
How long does it take seeds of various kinds to germinate, starting from the time they are first exposed to a moist environment?
 
Does the size of a particular kind of seed affect its rate of germination?
Are there substances that inhibit the germination of seeds and, if so, at what concentration?

DEVOTIONAL 

Read the entire story about the Samaritan woman in John 4. Put yourself in the woman's place and think about how you would feel while Jesus was talking to you. Jesus reached out to the woman in love, asking for water and offering "living water". He reaches out to each of us and offers something of much greater worth than physical water, that is, eternal life!

APPLICATION QUESTIONS:
1. Do you have a thirst for knowing God better?
2. Have you accepted God's gift of eternal life?
3. How does knowing that you will never thirst for what is most important to your life make you feel?


CREATIVE ACTIVITY

Make a crayon resist painting. Draw a picture, making the outlines with crayon. Color in part of the outlined areas and leave others empty. Use watercolor paints to paint over the picture. Notice where water is absorbed by the paper and where it is not. Just like in the painting, some people resist the living water which Jesus offers.



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