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A Sense of Hearing? If plants can smell without a nose, can they

hear without ears? We don’t know. Plants may not be able to hear. Two of the most famous studies reached

diff erent conclusions. A college student did the first one. She loved music. She wondered if music could help plants grow. If so, she wondered what kinds of music would help them grow. When she played classical music, her plants

grew. When she played rock music, they didn’t. T is seemed like an important discovery. Unfortunately, her study was not done in a

scientific way. She didn’t have a clear method. For example, she didn’t test many plants. She didn’t test them in the same way. When other scientists tried to repeat her study, they weren’t able to get the same results. Years later, a team of scientists tried her

study again. T ey used a larger number of plants. T ey tested each of the plants in the same way. Music didn’t aff ect any of them.

Learning About Plants It’s tough to explain how these two studies

had such diff erent results. T at’s one of the challenges of science. Experiments must be done again and again. Sometimes, it’s easy to prove that something

happens. You can see positive results from your experiments. Proving something doesn’t happen is harder. You could be testing for it in the wrong way. For now, there’s no evidence that tells us

plants can hear. Yet if someone does the right experiment, we might learn that plants do respond to sound. T ere’s much more to learn about plants.

It’s important that we try to find out. I know that plants can survive fine without people, but people need plants. From the oxygen we breathe to the clothes we wear to the food we eat, we depend on plants. We have only just begun to understand how plants experience their world. With more study, our knowledge of plants and their senses will grow.


conclusion: an opinion formed after careful research and thinking

experiment: a test used to find or prove something

hypothesis: an idea that has not been proved

method: a step-by-step plan to find out if an idea is true or not

observe: to gather information by looking at something closely


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