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Make a 'beanhouse' greenhouse

You will need:

  • 1 PET bottle with lid
  • Compost soil mixture from a nursery or supermarket *
  • 1 packet of bean seeds
  • Clear masking tape
  • Scissors - *make sure you are allowed to use them!
*Compost and potting mix can contain the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease.*
Wash hands and take precautions to avoid breathing potting mix dust.
For more information see World Health Organisation


  1. Cut your PET bottle in half.
  2. Using compost soil, fill the bottom half of the PET bottle to within 4 cm of the cut edge.
  3. Place 4 bean seeds onto the soil surface, at least 2 cm away from the PET bottle sides.
  4. Using your finger, poke the bean seeds 2.5 cm into the soil. Water the soil well.
  5. Connect the top half of the PET bottle to the bottom half and secure with masking tape.
  6. Leave the lid loose and place the bottle on a window ledge that receives good sunlight.
  7. Your plants should begin to sprout within 2 weeks!

Alternate version

  1. Place paper in the bottom of a re-seal kitchen bag and moisten with water.
  2. Put your beans into the bag and seal the bag.
  3. Tape the bag against a window and watch the beans sprout over time.

    beans in bag on a window
  4. You could also see the effect of adding salt or sugar to the bags or perhaps light vs. dark. Which condition produces the fastest bean growth? It's all about variable testing!
bean sprouts
Be Amazing Book Front Cover; Ben Newsome, teacher & founder of Fizzics Education. Be Amazing -how to teach science the way primary kids love
Be Amazing!
How to teach science, the way primary kids love

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What is going on?

Growing your own beans in a PET bottle can be a lot of fun, but you can also use these beans to investigate factors that affect plant growth. Try setting up different bottles and changing one thing to see the effect (eg. the amount of water or light they get or adding salt to the soil). Changing one variable and seeing the result is part of the scientific method and we strongly encourage it! 

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