In addition to multiple trips to the swimming pool and relaxed time with friends, the kids and I have taken some time this summer to learn more about corn and bean plants. Following the TOPS Corn and Beans experiment book, which came with our Sonlight science curriculum, we had a great time experimenting and observing our plants. Just like when we studied radishes with a TOPS textbook, the kids made a self-watering greenhouse out of a milk carton for sprouting and growing their seeds. And this time they also made a simple balance for weighing changes of mass in their sprouts as well as a measuring stick for keeping track of plant growth. For a month, the kids observed their seedlings, made detailed notes and drawings in their journals, and then graphed their results. They also made predictions about what would happen to the plants in different conditions, such as if a leaf were covered with foil or vaseline, or if the cotyledons of a bean plant were removed prematurely. We also became more knowledgeable about the names and functions of the various parts of the plants and learned how to tell whether a plant is a dicot or a monocot by looking at the shape of the leaves. All in all, we pretty much felt like corn and bean experts at the end of the month, though there is still much more we could learn. :-) Here are a few shots of the kids enjoying their research project.