Toxicity Testing: The Effect of Chemicals on Radish Seeds

This experiment can help students learn: (1) the importance of using model systems in science when human subjects cannot be used because of the potential risk; (2) that many questions in science suggest a variety of investigation methods; and (3) that using models in scientific inquiry can help establish relationships based on evidence from the students’ own observations. 


What's in the Lesson Plan:

  • Background, purpose, and hypothesis of the experiment
  • Detailed description of the materials needed
  • Instructions for setting up, conducting, and taking down the experiment
  • Questions for students to answer as they analyze the experimental data

Grade Level(s):

6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12 

Student Skills Targeted:

  • Following detailed instructions including measurements
  • Analyzing data
  • Arriving at conclusions based on data analysis

Time / Duration:

  • Set-up time: 45 minutes (one class period)
  • Experiment run time/data collection: two consecutive days, 15 minutes each day, for observations and data collection
  • Take-down time: 5 minutes


For a team of three students: 

  • 6 resealable plastic sandwich bags 
  • 12 paper napkins 
  • 6 50-mL beakers of chemical solution, ranging from 0% to 100% concentration (see lesson for details) 
  • 1 bag of radish seeds (approximately 60 seeds in a bag) 
  • 1 permanent marker 
  • latex gloves 
  • safety glasses 
  • 1 tray 

Alignment with National Standards:

  • Informed by Common Core State Standards for Math.


  • English

Toxicity Testing Lesson