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Celebrating Black History Month: George Washington Carver

Our celebration of Black History Month continues. This week, we celebrate George Washington Carver.

George Washington Carver

Scientist

George Washington Carver was the most prominent black scientist of the early 20th century.

Pioneer

He was a pioneer in agricultural science and developed techniques to grow crops better.

Teacher

He became a teacher and developed over three hundred uses for peanuts and sweet potatoes. The developments include chili sauce, shampoo, shaving cream, glue, cooking oil, and so much more.

Grow Your Own Sweet Potato

In honor of George Washington Carver, we have a fun hands-on project you can do together as a family.

Materials Needed

  • Clear container
  • Cutting board
  • Knife (requires adult supervision)
  • Ruler
  • Sweet potato
  • Toothpicks
  • Water

Instructions

  1. Cut the sweet potato in half.
  2. Fill the container with water. Fill it about halfway full.
  3. Insert 4 toothpicks into the middle of the sweet potato.
  4. Place the sweet potato about 2 inches into the container with water.
  5. Set the container in front of a sunny window.
  6. Watch the growth of the sweet potato and water level. If the water level drops, add more.
  7. After 2-3 weeks, you will see roots develop, and in 3-4 weeks, you will see sprouts grow. Measure and document the growth in the Plant Journal.

Observations

Why did the sweet potato grow?

Germination! That means the plant is sprouting roots. Usually, you cannot see the roots sprout when the seed is under soil, but with this experiment you are able to see the entire process.

Once your sweet potato is showing nice, strong roots, it is time for planting. Plant in loose soil with good drainage. Sweet potatoes need warm growing conditions, so do not plant until three or four weeks after the final spring frost in your area.

Enjoy watching your plant grow!

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