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Will It Wilt?

In this activity, students examine the differences between two similar plants when one plant is deprived of the power of sunlight. A plant cannot survive without sunlight because it needs light to make its own food. It does this by a process called photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis is a process where plants absorb sunlight through their leaves and convert it to chemical energy. When provided with everything else a plant needs to grow and survive (water, air, soil nutrients), we can observe what happens if it has no sunlight.


  • Observe the effect of the sun on plant survival.


  • Per Class or Group:
    two similar/identical house plants
    paper and pencils
    a sunny window sill

Key Questions

  • What differences can you observe?
  • Why does a plant without sunlight stop growing?

What To Do

  1. Place two plants on the windowsill or in another sunny location.
  2. Cover one plant with a box to stop the sunlight from reaching it.
  3. Periodically, water both plants equally.
  4. Measure and record the height and colour of each plant daily.


  • Record the progress of the plants by taking photos or drawing pictures each day, or, measure the plant sizes and create a growth chart.
  • What does a plant need for photosynthesis to occur?
  • What happens when the sun-deprived plant is removed from the box? Will it grow again?
  • On a large piece of paper, create a food web that starts with the sun. Discuss what happens if the sun is removed from the food web.