Kids

Be an Avo Scientist

Avocados are delicious, nutritious fruits that make super science fair subjects, too! Use these projects to inspire young science students — and give them a reason to play with their food.

Experiment No. 1 — What Makes Avocados Ripen Faster?

For the experiment, you’ll need:

  • 3 unripe avocados
  • 2 paper lunch sacks
  • 1 apple
  1. Put one avocado in a lunch sack and close it tightly. In the other sack, place the second avocado and the apple together and close the sack tightly. Leave the last avocado out in the open.
  2. State your hypothesis: Which avocado will ripen the quickest?
  3. After two days, open the sacks and compare all three avocados. Gently squeeze the avocados to determine which one has ripened the most. (Remember, the softer the avocado, the riper it is.)
  4. Draw conclusions. Ask yourself what happened and why. (Hint: Find the answer at the bottom of this post.)

 

Experiment No. 2 — Grow an Avocado Tree

For the experiment, you’ll need:

  • 3 avocado pits, gently rinsed with water (no soap!)
  • 12 toothpicks
  • 3 jars or drinking glasses
  • Water
  1. Carefully push four toothpicks into an avocado pit, placing the toothpicks at even intervals around the middle. Repeat with two other pits. Place the three pits into individual jars, being sure to position them with the pointy sides up and keeping the pits suspended by resting the toothpicks on the rim of the jar. Fill each jar with water until it reaches the middle of the pit. Place the jars in three different locations: one with direct sunlight, another with only indirect sunlight, and one with no sunlight at all. Plan to refresh water weekly.
  2. Using a knife, split open the fourth pit to observe what’s inside the pit and understand what happens.
  3. State your hypothesis: Which location will produce the healthiest plant?
  4. After seven weeks, observe and measure the plants that should have sprouted. Which one appears to be the healthiest? Why do you think this is?
  5. Draw conclusions. Ask yourself what happened and why. (Hint: Find the answer at the bottom of this post.)

 

What Happened?

Experiment No. 1 — What Makes Avocados Ripen Faster?

Avocados, apples, and many other fruits emit ethylene gas, a substance that speeds up the ripening of fruit. The closed paper sacks in this experiment trapped the ethylene gas, resulting in ripe avocados. The sack containing the apple holds the ripest avocado because the apple added even more ethylene to the air inside the bag.

Experiment No. 2 — Grow an Avocado Tree

When you split open an avocado plant, you’ll discover a teeny-tiny embryo inside. The substance surrounding the embryo is called a cotyledon and is there to provide food for the growing plant. In addition to food, avocado embryos need water and light. Indirect sunlight is best, as naturally occurring avocado seedlings grow under the shade provided by their parents.

SOURCES:

Cotyledon:
Schaffer, B & Wolstenholme, B.N. (2013). The avocado: botany, production, and uses. CABI, Oxfordshire, UK.

Best sun:
http://ceventura.ucanr.edu/Gardening/Garden_Info/avocado_questions/

By Avocados From Mexico September 26, 2016

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