Tag Archives: nature science

Celery Experiment

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The kids don’t really like to eat celery (though I do), but they weren’t averse to using it for an experiment. What happens when we place celery tops into cups of coloured water?

At the start.

At the start.

We chose five food colours, red, pink, green, yellow and blue. We placed some of each colour into five separate plastic cups and then filled the cups up to about half way with water. Each cup got its own celery top. I asked the kids what they thought would happen if we left them like that, they both thought the celery would suck up the water. We also talked about what would happen to the colours, and would we see a difference between the colours. I was predicting that blue and red would produce the most dramatic change, and L predicted that yellow and green wouldn’t do anything.

We left the celery for about an hour. By this time, we could see some colour rising up the stalks, and travelling through the leaves. The pink and blue ones had the most obvious change in colour.

Pink, blue and red (l-r) after an hour.

Pink, blue and red (l-r) after an hour.

After an hour.

After an hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After about 24 hours, much more of the colour had been transferred from the cups into the leaves, producing a mottled effect on the leaves. We could also see the colour in the stalks. The red, pink and blue showed a major change in the colour, while the yellow and green ones were much harder to see. Looking closely at the green one, we could see the colour where some of the leaves were a little damaged, and around the edges of the leaves. The yellow one’s leaves appeared somewhat brighter than before the experiment, and we could see the yellow around the top of the stalk, but compared to the other colours, it was very difficult to see what had happened.

After 24 hours, the red, blue and pink (l-r) had a dramatic change.

After 24 hours, the red, blue and pink (l-r) had a dramatic change.

This little experiment demonstrates the way plants suck up water throughout their stem and leaf systems. It is another example of capillary action at work. L was quite interested in it, but A mostly just liked the pretty colours the celery had turned 🙂

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Magnifying Glasses

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Looking at the tree leaves.

Looking at the tree leaves.

Big L brought home a magnifying glass in a sample bag last week. He gave this to L and found our kids magnifying glass for A. The kids took them into the yard to explore. They looked at leaves, grass, bugs, feathers, flowers, the concrete path, pegs, and many other things, including their own hands and feet. This gave the kids a different perspective on the outside things that they see every day. They really enjoyed using the magnifying glasses, and have asked to explore with them again soon.

Investigating a leaf.

Investigating a leaf.

Investigating a curled up leaf.

Investigating some bark.

Sprouting Birdseed

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Now that’s it’s spring, we’ve started barbequing again. We love to use the bbq, and eat outside when it’s nice. Having our first BBQ of spring made me think of plastic plates and napkins. And since the kids had been playing with a tub of birdseed earlier in the day, I thought we could have a go at growing some of it.

Pre-wetting the napkins.

Pre-wetting the napkins.

Turns out we didn’t actually have plastic plates, but Big L found some plastic bowls and napkins hidden away on top of a cupboard. The kids took two bowls each, lined them with a couple of napkins, and then sprayed them with water. Then they each tossed some wild birdseed into the bowls, and sprayed them again. A was a bit disappointed when nothing happened straight away.

Birdseed in the bowls.

Birdseed in the bowls.

We moved the bowls into a spot on the dining table where the sun shines through a window in the mornings. Both L and A have been very dedicated in watering the bowls at least twice a day (along with the table, floor, and anything nearby).

A spraying the seeds with water.

A spraying the seeds with water.

After a few days some of the seeds began to sprout. A was very excited to see the first sprouts coming up. The kids have checked on their bowls multiple times each day to see how they are going, and they have started to notice that the different seeds have different sprouts, and some are different shades of green. L noticed that the different seeds have sprouted at different times, and some are growing more quickly than others. A has been particularly interested in the sunflower sprouts, as the seed shell is still on most of the sprouts, and she’s been wondering if it will come off. I told her she will have to continue to watch and see.

After 8 days.

After 8 days.

This activity has stimulated discussion about the differences between plants and their growth, including what they need to grow. L was a bit sceptical that anything could grow on the paper napkins, as plants normally need soil. Growing them like this has been good because she could see them from the first tiny sprout, that she can’t see when it is growing in soil. She has enjoyed watching the seeds grow, and we will continue to watch them for as long as we can.

The bowl with the best growth (also the most seeds, thanks to A's enthusiasm).

The bowl with the best growth (also the most seeds, thanks to A’s enthusiasm).

After 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks.