Welcome to the first of many Project Corner posts! I hope to share projects that you can do at home with your kids. From tots to teens, I’ll try to find things to do that are fun for the whole family, and are sometimes educational! Today’s post is a fun experiment that’s easy, has great results and you probably have everything you need on hand.
The Celery Leaves Experiment
Preschool to Elementary
at least 4 celery ribs, with leafy tops
at least 4 different food colors (green isn’t really suited for this).
4 glasses, jars, vases, whatever you have
water for each glass
Cut the ends of your celery ribs. It really doesn’t matter how long they are, just as long as they don’t tip your glasses over!
Set your glasses out and fill each one about 3/4 of the way with water. Tap water is just fine.
Add your food color, a few drops will do. Feel free to mix up the colors, and have the kids help decide what to do! This is their project after all!
Set the celery ribs in the water
Let them sit for 24 hours.
What you’ve learned:
Besides a really neat trick, you just taught your kids what osmosis is (google it up!). How you explain that will all depend on the age of your kids. For younger kids, you can keep it simple and explain that plants drink the water through their roots, and that’s why the leaves changed! The celery drank up the colored water, the veins carried it up through the stalk into the leaves. For older kids, who may already be learning some of this stuff in early science, this project will reinforce what they might have already learned in the class room. See if they can tell you what happened.
If you really want to get into the science aspect, you can have your kids hypothesize about what will happen to the leaves before you start the project. Get a piece of paper and have them write down some predictions (or write it for them). Good questions to start with:
What do you think will happen to the leaves?
Which color will work best?
How long do you think it will take?
What do you think will happen to the water?
And anything else you can all come up with together. When the project is complete, go back and compare answers to actual results. Did the kids make good predictions? If not, what happened? See if you can explain where things went wrong, or have them try and figure it out! Save this project for a rainy day and you’re sure to keep them preoccupied when you can keep them outside! Even I couldn’t help but check on the leaves every so often. 24 hours will give you good results, but feel free to keep them in the water for longer and see what happens. If you try this experiment at home, let us know how it goes!
A couple more process pics. I LOVE the way the colorful water looks when it catches the morning sunlight. I might just have to fill up some glass bottles and keep them on the windowsill!
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