A.J. shows a group of students how to create the greenhouse effect
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WSAZ-TV
updated 8/10/2004 2:00:12 PM ET 2004-08-10T18:00:12

Without a greenhouse, growing flowers and vegetables early could not happen. Greenhouses are used all year round but are beneficial in the winter to get a jump-start on the growing season.

A greenhouse traps the heat of the sun, keeping the air warm and moist inside. A greenhouse is either made of plastic or glass. The suns rays shine through the clear glass or plastic and warm the air inside. The warm air tries to escape, but it gets stuck. This creates an atmosphere much like the tropics, hot and humid. This leads to plenty of moisture making any plant happy.

Let's try an experiment that duplicates the "greenhouse effect" on a plant. Here's what you will need:

  • An empty one-gallon jug
  • Large rubber band
  • Dirt
  • Seeds or small plants
  • Small plastic bag
  • Scissors
  • Magic Marker/Sharpie
  • Tack

Directions:

  1. Cut 2 inches off the top of the jug.
  2. Decorate the jug any way you want.
  3. Fill the jug with 5 inches of dirt.
  4. Plant seeds or live plants in the dirt.
  5. Water lightly.
  6. Place the plastic over the opening of the jug and use the rubber band to hold in place.
  7. Cut off the extra plastic bag below the rubber band.
  8. Tack a few holes in the plastic for air.

Make sure you take the plastic off every other day to water the plants and let fresh air in. Don't over water! The heat that gets trapped inside will make its own water!

The plants will transpire. That's new word to remember. It means the plants will evaporate water and it cause condensation on the sides of the jug. It means the jug will feel like it's sweating.

NEW STUFF TO LEARN:

1. EVAPORATION: means water changes from a liquid to a gas. When water vapor (or droplets) comes together in the sky, they form clouds.

2. CONDENSATION: is the process by which water changes from a gas to a sold or liquid.

Our atmosphere works just like a greenhouse. The atmosphere has four different Greenhouse Gasses: water vapor, carbon dioxide (car exhaust), nitrous oxide, and methane. These gasses will trap the suns heat keeping us nice and warm. If it were not for these gasses, our temperature on earth would be 60 degrees colder!!!!

That would mean our air temperature would be below freezing all year round! But on the flip side, if the Greenhouse Gasses get too strong, we will heat up and the temperature would get too hot for us to live and Winter would no longer be a season.

Try this project at home and then send me an e-mail and tell me how it came out. Take some pictures of you and your Greenhouse and send those as well!

Be sure to check back next Tuesday for a new class in A.J's Summer School.

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