Is a potato alive?

On Friday, I brought in some potatoes that had started to sprout at home in the kitchen.

I asked the kids if they thought they were alive.  More than half thought that no, they were not alive.

So I had the kids share with a partner what they thought.  They had to support their thinking with a logical explanation.  Then we shared out with the class.

These were some of their explanations:
The potato is not alive because it cannot have babies.

Potatoes do not move on their own.  You have to carry them.

Potatoes don’t breathe.

The potato is not alive because it has been plucked from the garden.

A few gave arguments in favor of the idea that it was alive.

One student said that it will grow and change.

We decided to test our ideas to see if in fact a potato was alive.  I put one in a cup with some water.  The others we will plant outside in our garden on Monday.  I did this last year and they grew amazingly well.  The were lush and green!

We will also write down our thinking, “I think the potato is (not) alive because…”


I’ll post images of their scientific writing when we’re done!


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