1. Cut a small hole in the centre of a circular piece of filter paper or paper towel.
2. Put the paper in a Petri dish lid and press a small piece of sticky putty in the centre.
3. Use a pencil to make a small hole in the sticky putty. Push a wild oat seed into the hole.
4. Add drops of water to the paper to make it thoroughly moist. Go on to Step 5 quickly.
5. Place a glass jar or beaker on the Petri dish lid to cover the sticky putty and seed. It needs to be moist.
6. Looking from above: rotate the Petri dish until the awn points to 12 o'clock and begin observations.
The wild oat awn is hydroscopic and moves rapidly (within a minute) in response to small humidity changes. This experiment shows one way of anchoring the seed and exposing it to different conditions so that the awn's movements can be observed and measured.