This Summery Science Veggie Experiment is a great way to demonstrate the way plants pull water from beneath the ground up into their stems and leaves. This experiment is perfect for preschoolers and school-aged children and a great way to stay cool on a sunny summer afternoon. So, let’s do it!
Staying hydrated is critical to maintaining good health. You probably encourage your kids to drink plenty of water, particularly now when we’re all sweating out so much of our moisture to stay cool under the hot summer sun.
But we’re not the only ones who need to stay hydrated!
Our pets, and even our plants, need water to survive. Yup, plants! Plants use water to transport nutrients out of the dirt and into their tissue and also to help keep their cells plump and sturdy – that’s why plants get limp and saggy when they’re in need of watering.
Water is also a key ingredient in photosynthesis, the process by which plants turn sunlight into food. But unlike people and animals, plants don’t have mouths to drink with. So how DO plants acquire and circulate water?
Gather Your Materials:
- Fresh celery stalk with plenty of leaves
- Food coloring (blue or red works best)
Fill a glass half full of water.
Add a tablespoon of food coloring and stir.
Trim the bottom of your celery stalk to expose a fresh bottom.
Place the stalk in the glass so that the stem is in the water, but the leaves are not, and take a photo with your phone.
Leave as-is overnight.
The next day, compare your celery stalk to the photo you took the night before!
Does anything look different? Ask your kids a few questions about what they see, including:
Do you think the water has moved up into the celery stalk?
Why do you think this? How can you tell?
How do you think the water traveled through the celery stalk?
Once you’ve observed and discussed the changes to your celery stalk, try cutting about a quarter inch off the bottom. There may be small dots of color (the same color as your food coloring) on the base of the stalk.
Explain to your kids that these dots are the bottoms of the plant’s xylem – small tubes inside the plant that suck up the water and nutrients like a straw and circulate them through the plant so that it can stay healthy, stand up tall, and make its own food.
How will you sneak science into your summer?