This is s a simple experiment for children of all ages. The visual of how water travels through a plant is amazing and would go along well with any study of plants.
First, you need to gather the materials:
White flowers such as carnations or daisies
Flower vases, glasses or jars
Food coloring (any color you want)
Science notebook if desired (see note below)
White Flowers (before)
Fill the glass about one quarter full with water.
Add plenty of food coloring (try about 15 drops and see how dark it is, you may need more if your using larger jars.)
Have an adult trim the flowers at an angle.
Put a flower into each filled jar.
Observe, discuss and journal.
What is happening? Do some colors seem to show more? What part of the flower do you see the color in?
If you already have a science notebook for your classroom or children at home, utilize that book. Otherwise, take two pieces of plain white paper and fold it in half. Staple together to make a small booklet. Have the child design the cover and write name on it. the title could be “Flower Science” or “Colorful Flowers.” On the first page, write or draw what the flowers look like before the activity. the next few pages can be used for observation drawings, marking the hours, time or date. the final page can be for written results and explaining why the color can be seen.
What Exactly Happens?
For Younger Kiddos:
Plants, flowers and trees drink water from the ground through their roots, kind of like a straw. The water moves up the stem and travels into the leaves and flowers. The plant will use this water to make food for itself. Explain that the roots are no longer on cut flowers, although it would be good to show a picture of a flower with roots.
The food coloring and water goes through the sap tubes that produce the required capillary force. Capillary action carries water from the beakers to the petals of the white flower, which causes it to change color. It is the same thing that causes water to rise up in plants and trees. It goes through the roots, trunk or stem and then on to the flowers and leaves.
Transpiration-It is the loss of water vapor from the leaves, stems, flowers and roots. It is part of the water cycle.
Two Colored Flowers:
Another version of this activity is to split the stem and use two colors on one white flower. You would fill two glasses with water and use two different colors of dye, one in each glass. Split the stem in half. place one half in each glass. Check it out in a couple of hours.
This is also just a fun decoration for any holiday or celebration. St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, Christmas, President’s Day and birthdays would all be great times to make colorful flowers either as decoration or as gifts!