Sometimes all the learning can get your kids a tad cranky. They may feel all that education that is supposedly supposed to make their lives is sucking the fun out of it, an indication of an impending burnout. Too much dull education can cause your kids to hate school and anything educational. This is why you need to make learning as fun as possible.
Experiments are a pretty good way of putting a positive spin on otherwise very boring school work. Rather than stare blankly while you try to explain theory after theory, the curios tikes get to see science in action. Experiments will have them talking about some of these facts and theories excitedly, something that no text book will achieve.
One such experiment is using celery and colored water to help explain how plants absorb water. Preparation makes the experiment go faster and also helps make it hassle free so it is best to get all the materials in advance.
- Clear glass jars, cups or small clear vase
- Fresh Celery stalks with leaves. Preferably the lighter leafier stalks near the center.
- Food Coloring
- Explain experiment. We are going to find out how plants absorb water and grow. See Educational note for more.
- Separate and select stalks of celery with leaves. Cut about a quarter inch off the bottom. The lighter stalks near the center will show the most color.
- Put about 8 ounces of water into glass jar or vase.
- Drop 3-4 drops of food coloring into jar.
- Place stalks into the water and using stalk stir very gently until food coloring is dispersed evenly.
- Have child/class make predictions about what will happen. Write it in a simple sentence and “point and read” together.
- Make 2-3 observations and write them down. Check at intervals depending on availability, you will see slight results after 3 hours, significant results overnight and again at 48 hours.
- Cut the bottom of the celery and you can see where the water was transported up into the celery stem.
Tips and Suggestions
- If you plan to do only one color, consider selecting blue. We found blue to have the most vibrant results. The colors we tested were purple, red and blue, green and orange. The blue was significantly brighter. After trying this three times, we noted the blue water level goes down the quickest.
The whole point of the experiment is to explain a concept so at least one of the glass stalks should be “rigged” for success. This means that the teacher should be in absolute control of one set to eliminate all errors. Should the kids have questions about your methods you should write them down and explain at the end. This will help maintain the curiosity and the results can be used to explain better than theorizing.
- Use the lightest, innermost stalks for this experiment. The darker green did not show the colors as well and were less healthy in comparison with the lighter green stalks.
- Be sure to trim the bottom of the stalks with a knife or shears (adult step). Examine the bottom after 24 hours to see where the water is being drawn up into the stem. Blue showed this the most clearly of all the colors.
- Sequencing board
Why is this experiment important for the kids?
You will realize that throughout the experiment, you aim is to keep the kids engaged and quite observant. Because they need to notice changes in colors as the experiment goes on. It teaches the kids observatory and critical communication skills that they will need later in life.