Floral Chameleons – Science on Mother’s Day

I’m not much of a flower person but it was still lovely to get some on Mother’s Day. At church, they gave each mother a stalk along with a prayer of thanksgiving. The boys also gave me one each, thoughtfully acquired by Grandma.

Since I had these flowers on hand, I thought it would be fun to do a classic science experiment with the boys, demonstrating capillary action in flowers.

The objective of the exercise (for preschoolers at least), is to demonstrate that plants need water to survive, and roots and stems are like the straws that help the plant to drink. All you need to do is:

  • Fill a vase/container with water
  • Add food colouring. Dark colours work best (we used blue)
  • Put the flowers into the vase/container. If you are cutting the stems, do so underwater – the stalks, not you 🙂 – to prevent air bubbles from getting trapped and interfering with the result. Use white carnations/roses for best effect.

I found a really helpful online description here.

Here you can see the result from our experiment:

BEFORE

flowers01.jpg

flowers03.jpg

AFTER (48 hours later)

flowers02.jpg

flowers04.jpg

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3 responses to “Floral Chameleons – Science on Mother’s Day

  1. I don’t have food dye at home, can you think of any other substitute? I’m thinking of the ink from squid but that means I need to go buy some squids, too! My daughter has just pulled a few stalks of flower off the plant and I thought it’d be nice to try this out with her!

  2. Squid – that’s a good one! Though might it not smell? I can’t think of anything else that would be a strong enough colourant. Might as well buy the dye. It comes in useful for all sorts of other activities, like making playdough or learning about colours.

  3. Yes, I agree with you about dye for making playdough. 🙂 I have been wanting to make but I have no dye. I’m not into buying anything for the moment because I’ve to pack my life into boxes soon! I remember reading something about using squid ink for risotto, not sure about the smell! Haha! I might try it one day if I do buy some squids. I will tell you if it smells! 🙂

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