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. 

Lesson Plan Highlights:

This lesson includes:

  • Background on the lesson
  • Questions for students

Grade Level(s):

6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12 

Student Skills:

  • Analyzing and interpreting information, data, and/or evidence
  • Following detailed instructions including measurements

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 


  • English

Academic Standards:

    • Common Core State Standards

Toxicity Testing Lesson