Looking for a fun, easy, and inexpensive science project to keep your kiddos excited this Spring Break in prep for St. Patrick’s Day? Here’s a project that you can take as in depth as you want, or just set it up and leave it and look back every day!
What you’ll need are some tall cups (we used some old plastic ones), red, yellow, and blue food coloring, water, and some celery. You’ll also need some kitchen shears or a knife to trim and split the stalks.
For our experiment, we set a control group of three stalks – one in each color – and then we also had our experimental group to see if the colors would mix and blend together over time. We talked about why scientists often have a control group, and in this case we wanted to be able to simply watch the capillary action without the color mixing aspect. For our control group, we also chose to use stalks with no leaves. (Becca’s idea – remember, to follow your child’s lead and have them share their reasoning behind their ideas. Learning comes through experiencing!) In the control group, we created several small slits in the base of the celery stalks to speed the absorption of the colors.
Then for our color blending experiment, we split the celery stalks down the center, about halfway up the stalk, and then created smaller slits in the base of the stalks just like in the control group. By putting the three glasses of red, yellow, and blue water into a triangle, we could easily stick a stalk into red and yellow, one in yellow and blue, and one in blue and red. We talked about which colors we were trying to create, and Becca told Gray all about how mixing colors works, which was a great learning experience for both of them.
Then, Becca made her predictions. She predicted that the blue would climb the stalk the fastest, and that purple would be the first color combination we would see show up.
By just a few hours in, the blue color in the control group was already showing, and hints of blue were showing in the experimental group as well. She was so excited that her first prediction was correct! We’ll leave the celery stalks out for one week and discover if the colors will blend in the stalks, or if they will stay as separate colors.
For older kids, you can easily use this lesson to discuss how roots distribute water to the rest of the plant, and even to illustrate how our blood vessels carry blood to the rest of our bodies.
ALTERNATE IDEA: If you have easy access to white carnations, they are easy to do this with, as well, and the results are quite lovely (and will be pretty to look at for quite a while.) Just be careful when you split the stems in half to put into the colored water because they are easily breakable. Also, you won’t need to create slits in the base of the stem, simply make sure to cut the stem at an angle for optimum water absorption.
Looking for easy and fun rainbow activities for your toddlers? Check out these ides from my friend, Melissa over at Rolling Prairie Readers!