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!
Supplies Needed to do the Pine Cone Experiment
– Pine cones (any kind will work however choose the larger varieties for better observation)
– Clear bowl
– Paper towel
Try cold water and hot water and compare any changes based on the temperature of the water.
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.
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.
2. Place 2-3 pine cones in the jar or bowl and allow them to soak for 1.5 – 2 hours.
3. Watch what happens to the pine cones in the water.
After a few hours, the pine cone closes:
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.
5. Let the pine cones dry.
This is after 12 hours:
After 18 hours:
At this point you can see the scales starting to open.
After 24 hours:
The pine cones are now almost fully open.
After 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.