STEM & Maker Activity 10

Sweet Sprouts
Supplies, instructions, resources, and worksheets are below!

Sprouting Sweet Potatoes

Project Description
If sweet potatoes don’t have seeds, how do they reproduce and grow? You can make a sweet potato grow into a sweet potato plant, and grow many sweet potatoes from one sweet potato. In this science project, you will grow your own sweet potato plants and investigate what part of the sweet potato is needed to grow the plants.

Activity Time
1 Day and about 8-10 weeks of observation

Supplies Needed
3 large sweet potatoes
Cutting board
Potato peeler
Toothpicks (about 18)
6 cups (can be plastic or glass, about 18 oz in size)
Warm, sunny window
Investigative Worksheet
NOTE: Adult supervision required when when using knife to cut

Learning Objectives
Understand how sweet potatoes grow
Understand the time it takes and environment to grow
Understand that not all plants grow from seeds

Vocabulary Terms to Understand
Look up each word and write their definition on paper.
tuberous root

Instructional Video

1. Print the Investigative Worksheet.
2. With help from an adult, cut each sweet potato in half using the knife and cutting board as shown below.

3. Peel one half of each pair so you will end up with 3 half with peel on them and 3 half without peel on them.
4. Use 3 to 4 toothpicks with to assemble each sweet potato half in the cup as shown below
5. Be sure that the sweet potatoes are in about 3 cm of water and have water touching the bottom of each sweet potato at all times.
6. Every 3 days, check the water. If the water is low, carefully take the sweet potato out and empty the water, wash the cup, replace with fresh water, and put the sweet potato back in. If the sweet potato gets moldy, you can throw it out. Create a chart like the one below to record your findings.

7. Write down all observation and procedures on your Investigative worksheet. You will need to be patient, as it can take several weeks for the sprouting and shoots to appear.

How are sweet potato slips made?
How long does it take for sweet potatoes to sprot?
What time of year should you plant sweet potatoes in your geographic area?
Do the ones with skin on them sprout, or the ones without skin?
Did either half of the sweet potatoes not sprout?
What parts of the sweet potato are needed to make more sweet potato plants?

More Resources
Growing Sweet Potatoes
How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in a Home Garden
Vegetables You Can Grown Again and Again
Types of Sweet Potatoes