Sean and Zack been doing sinking and floating experiments while I work on the garden. They would gather things from the backyard and drop them into their blue bucket. They didn’t clean up one day and when we saw the bucket, we were surprised to see that the pine cone closed up. We thought that was interesting because we had soaked some beans in the past and water actually opened them so it was strange to us that the pine cone closed. We tried the experiment again.
We found two pine cones that were similar sizes. We placed one in the water and placed the control on the ledge of the deck.
We forgot to check the next day so we actually left it in the water for two days. The one in the water closed up.
Here are the guys holding the experiment and the control again.
We placed both on the ledge in the sun and the next day, the closed one opened up and looked like the control one again.
It’s something called osmotic pressure. The woody husk of the pine cone expands when wet to protect the pine seeds but contracts when dry so the pine cone opens to release the pine seeds into the air to be dispersed by wind. What a great discovery the kids made by not cleaning up. Not as cool as when Fleming found mold growing on his unwashed petri dishes of bacteria and discovered penicillin but almost.