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Pine Cone Experiment

Want to learn something cool that pine cones do? Try this fun fall pine cone experiment! All you need is water and pine cones to try this fun experiment at home!

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Pine Cone Science Experiment

In this experiment, you will discover how water affects pine cones. You can test out different kinds of pine cones and see how long it takes for them to open and close. You can also have kids track on paper the changes they see every few hours.

Kids will love to help with this experiment and watch the pine cones transform before their eyes!

fall pinecone experiment

Supplies Needed to do the Pine Cone Experiment

– Pine cones (any kind will work however choose the larger varieties for better observation)

– Water

– Clear bowl

– Paper towel

Try this!

Try cold water and hot water and compare any changes based on the temperature of the water.

pine cone science

Watch The Video Tutorial Here!

What is the Science?

Pine cones absorb water from their environment. When it is wet or damp in the air, the pine cone gets damp. The cells on the bottom of each scale absorb the water. This pressure makes the scale fold in, closing the pine cone. Pine cones will close when it’s rainy but will also close when it’s humid or damp in the air.

When the weather is warm and the pine cones are dry, the scales open up.

Why Does a Pine Cone Close?

When it is wet and damp, the pine cone scales will close to protect its seeds from cold and wet conditions. When it is dry, pine cones will open to help release the seeds in a more favorable environment.

pine cone science experiment craft

How To Do a Pine Cone Experiment

1. Fill a clear bowl or jar with cold water.

To extend the experiment, try hot water and cold water and note any differences.

Add water into a bowl

2. Place 2-3 pine cones in the jar or bowl and allow them to soak for 1.5 – 2 hours.

Place pine cones in bowl

3. Watch what happens to the pine cones in the water.

Open pine cones in water

After a few hours, the pine cone closes:

Closed pine cones in water

4. Take the pine cones out of the water and place them on a paper towel.

Now watch how the scales change once the pine cone is in a dry environment.

Take pine cones out of water

5. Let the pine cones dry.

This is after 12 hours:

Drying for 12 hours

After 18 hours:

Drying for 18 hours

At this point you can see the scales starting to open.

After 24 hours:

Drying for 24 hours

The pine cones are now almost fully open.

After 48 hours:

Drying for 48 hours

Test out the experiment again by changing the conditions. Try it with warm water or changing the length of time that the pine cones are in the water and see if it affects the results.

Have kids track the changes every few hours as the pine cones change from wet to dry and write down what they are observing.

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