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Agreed, this is a very good trick question to describe the process of germination and knowledge on what is required for it. Steel or wood doesn’t make a difference.

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In order for seeds to germinate, there should be a presence of water, oxygen and warmth. In all 3 set-ups water, oxygen and warmth is present. Therefore all 3 set-ups had suitable conditions for the seeds to germinate so the answer is (4). 

The key point is that photosynthesis requires sunlight but germination does not require sunlight.

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Seeds do not photosynthesize since it does not have any leaves. So light is not required for germination.


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Thanks AmandaTan.

Do the steel & wood container material make any difference in the way warmth is present or absent here?

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I know what you mean. Correct me if i`m wrong, you are thinking if steel, being a good conductor of heat is going to affect germination since warmth is a condition for germination.

However, there is a lamp in the diagram with materials of different level of transparency. These set-ups are trying to show if the seed can/cannot receive light based on the materials NOT conductivity of materials. Of course, as explained, this is not a relevant information for this question. 

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Conditions for germination : air, warmth and moisture (water)
Since all 3 set-ups have these conditions, germination will occur. Light is not needed for germination because the seed leaves provide food for the seed before it becomes a young plant. Whether there is light or not, germination will occur as long as these conditions are present. 

I think students get confused when additional (yet not relevant) information is given. This is to test how strong is their foundation. Students who are not dead sure on the conditions for germination will try to make a guess and this question does not allow that. 

Looking at the question, seems like it is set up to make students with weak foundation think
“Oh, there are containers made with 3 different materials. This question must have got to do with the materials (glass allow light to pass through). It has to do with light if not they use different materials for what ?” 

One group of student will choose A because they got confused with photosynthesis. Another group will carelessly choose B and C only because they remember light is not needed for germination. Again, I wanna stress that Whether there is light or not, germination will occur as long as these conditions are present. Only students who understood this will choose 4 (A,B and C) 

Answer : 4 

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A. Without light the seed cannot grow via photosynthesis. Steel container and wooden container no light can go through.

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Thanks, ShockedParent. That’s what we thought too, but the answer sheet is (4). Does it have anything to do with steel/wood are good/poor conductor of heat? 

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You’re mistaking germination for photosynthesis. 

Photosynthesis needs sunlight. 

Germination does not need sunlight. It just needs air, warmth, moisture. This is present in all the set-ups, hence the answer is (4). 


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