Welcome to week 4 of Camp Yellow Scope: Tints & Tubes. Who's ready to have some fun with science?
Click here if you’d like to download printable instructions. You can also print out a lab worksheet to record your observations, jot down ideas, and design your own experiments! If you collect your worksheets together from all eight weeks, by the end of the summer you will have your very own Camp Yellow Scope notebook! You can even add some extra sheets for new experiments that you design yourself.
Experiment 1: Up goes the water
You’ve probably watered plants in your house or garden. Have you ever noticed that when you water the plants, you water the soil and not the leaves and flowers? How does the water gets to all parts of the plant? Is there a magical elevator in the stem that pulls the water up?
This week we are going to do experiments to explore how water moves through plants. All you need is water, food coloring, and a stick of celery!
Let’s get started
Clear a space on the kitchen counter, your desk, or the picnic table in the backyard. Put on some clothes that can get messy, and get ready to do science!
What do you think will happen when you put a celery stalk into colored water?
Record your hypotheses in your worksheet.
Even though you placed the bottom of the celery into the colored water, you likely noticed that the color moved all the way up the celery, even to the tips of the leaves. How does this happen? How does water move up the celery – apparently defying the laws of gravity?
To answer this question, let’s think about what you did during your experiment. When you looked at the cut slices of celery, you likely saw small round dots of color. The circles are actually cross-sections of a series of long narrow tubes that run lengthwise through the celery stalk. These tubes are called xylem (fun word, right?). Xylem helps to move water from the roots of a plant up to the leaves and flowers. How does this work?
This upward movement of water (or any liquid) is called capillary action. Capillary action happens because of two properties of water:
Capillary action is what allows water to be pulled up the stem of a plant to be delivered to all the different parts of the plant.
Why does it matter?
Can you think of examples of capillary action from your daily lives?
You own it!
Test yourself: Match the Column!
Answer Key: 1-c, 2-a, 3-b
We hope you had fun learning about the built-in straws in celery. Next week we'll use capillary action to separate colors in dyes! So check back next Tuesday for new experiments and more summer science fun!
We'd love to see how your experiments turned out! Were you able to see the colored dots of xylem in your celery? Share your photos or videos:
For more exciting experiments, check out our science kits on the SHOP tab of our website!