Fun and Fascinating Pine Branch Hardiness STEM Experiment

Sometimes, you set out to try one experiment, but then end up with results completely different from what you expected. That is how this experiment turned out at my house. I kind of love it when experiments “fail,” because that is where the true scientific process begins! See if you and your kids have the same results in this fun and fascinating pine branch hardiness experiment. 

Kids will love learning about the hardiness of pine trees in this STEM activity. The pine branch hardiness experiment is the perfect after-Christmas event!

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You can use our investigations as a jumping-off point for your own science experiments on pine branches.

Fascinating and Fun Pine Branch Hardiness STEM Experiment

Kids will love learning about the hardiness of pine trees in this STEM activity. The pine branch hardiness experiment is the perfect after-Christmas event!

What you’ll need to set up the pine branch hardiness experiment:

  • Real pine branches
  • Mason jars (we used four at a time)
  • Labels

Pine Branch Hardiness Round 1

Kids will love learning about the hardiness of pine trees in this STEM activity. The pine branch hardiness experiment is the perfect after-Christmas event!Our original idea was to see which liquid helped the pine branch live longest. We filled four mason jars with one of the following:

  • Tap water
  • Sugar water
  • Salt water
  • No water

We placed our jars in a sunny spot and left them for 10 days. I thought that would be sufficient time to see the full results. But 10 days later, the trees looked like this:

Kids will love learning about the hardiness of pine trees in this STEM activity. The pine branch hardiness experiment is the perfect after-Christmas event!

Yep, exactly the same!

Our evergreen trees were living up to their names. We didn’t want to take MONTHS doing this project, so then we decided to see what WOULD kill the pine branches.

Pine Branch Hardiness Round 2

Kids will love learning about the hardiness of pine trees in this STEM activity. The pine branch hardiness experiment is the perfect after-Christmas event!

In this round, I had the kids come up with kitchen liquids that they thought would be bad for the evergreen twigs. They tried to think of the worst liquids for plants. The kids ended up picking:

  • Tap water (for a control)
  • Coffee
  • Vinegar
  • Vegetable oil

We left our pine branches for another 10 days in a sunny window.

Lo and behold, after 10 days, there WERE differences in the pine branches. But not nearly as many as we thought! The coffee? It was almost as good for the pine branches as the water. The oil caused the branch to shrivel up, but it didn’t turn any other color. The vinegar, though, turned the pine needles brown.

Kids will love learning about the hardiness of pine trees in this STEM activity. The pine branch hardiness experiment is the perfect after-Christmas event!

The kids determined that the vinegar and oil were definitely the worst for the pine branches.

What Kids Learn with the Pine Branch Hardiness STEM Experiment

The main thing that my kids learned is that pine trees are not that delicate. We put our branches through so many things that should have been bad for them, but they came through no worse for the wear. After our experiment, the kids and I read a little about pine trees and we read that the only branch officially dying was the vinegar tree. We also learned that pine trees prefer acidic soil, which may be why our tree branch didn’t mind drinking coffee. Some varieties of pine tree are even resistant to salt!

Kids will love learning about the hardiness of pine trees in this STEM activity. The pine branch hardiness experiment is the perfect after-Christmas event!

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For More Winter STEM Activities, Check Out:

25 Awesome STEAM Christmas Projects for Kids

Totally Awesome Kid-Made Ornaments!

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