Growth curve with maize seedlings
--Mary Berlyn, Yale University

Here's a pre-arithmetic growth curve for really young ones. It worked great with my own kids as preschoolers and it would be good for the kindergarten, first-grade set. It requires only corn kernels of any well-growing stock, construction paper and scissors, and yields a quite handsome growth curve. It does not require fine motor skills or ability to read subdivisions on a ruler or draw. Corn is good because it grows straight and tall. Individuals (or, less preferably, groups of 2 or 3) could each produce a graph.
- Plant the kernel.
- On a large piece of construction paper, draw a y axis for Ht., and an x axis for Days.
- From construction paper of a different color, cut long strips of width on the order of an inch or a couple of cm.
- When the seedling emerges and at regular intervals, the child holds the long strip, one end touching the soil, next to the axis of the plant and cuts the strip right at the top of the shoot.
- The strip is pasted to the graph, labelling the Day below it.
- Three days (or other chosen interval) later, a second strip is used to measure and is pasted next to the first, and Day is recorded. And so on.


Even very young children can do every bit of the measuring and recording themselves. Not rocket science and not genetics, but a fun-to-make and instructive bar graph. 

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