Root Viewers

Kindergarteners planted fava beans and radishes in their root viewers a few weeks ago. Last week we had an unveiling to see how our roots have grown and to compare the difference between the roots of radishes and fava beans. It turns out that fava beans have much thicker roots. We will continue this week to look at them as the other half of the class rotates to do the activity. These root viewer directions were from a UCSC Life Lab video. You can make your own root viewers to enjoy at home with the following steps.


  • 2 Plastic Cups (one to use as a stencil)
  • Dark Construction Paper
  • Scissors
  • Drill
  • Potting Soil
  • Various Seeds
  • Water
  • Tape
  • Cut out the side of a plastic cup. (Remove the bottom circle)
  • Lay out the cut piece on dark construction paper and trace the outline.
  • Drill holes on the bottom of a new plastic cup to allow water to drain.
  • Apply potting soil and insert seeds along the side of the cup.
  • Wrap dark construction paper around the cup and tape¬†securely. (This prevents the roots from growing towards the center of the cup)
  • Water and provide sunlight when needed and keep checking in.

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3 Responses to Root Viewers

  1. Jessica says:

    Great photos! I’m surprised planting the seed like that doesn’t seem to hurt the growth of the plant.

    In addition to the radish seeds and fava beans, what other seeds would you suggest kids use for this activity? thank for the great posts!


    • afygarden says:

      Hi Jessica – Thanks for checking it out. Eventually they will need to be transplanted before the roots bundle up. This is my first time trying this project and it has been fun even for me to watch over time.

      I would recommend plants with neat roots to see eventually, such as carrots or beets. I’d also recommend using large sized seeds for younger kids to plant easier and to see changes better. Otherwise, it’s actually a great chance to experiment and see the roots of any seed you want. You could do a sample cup and put various seeds in it and see which results you would like to use.

      Thanks for checking us out!


  2. Ryan Johnson says:

    A great project! The photos really are worth a thousand words each in describing the project for blog readers. Thanks!


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