The kids and I are really enjoying gardening at the moment, watching our seedlings grow and planting out more seeds. As we watch them grow it also gives us a great opportunity to explore plants and look at the science of them. In the past, we’ve looked at how plants drink through colouring flowers and I’ve explained to the kids this is due to transpiration. The water with the food colouring is transported up through the stem however it’s not been easy to see the actual vessels involved. I then remembered a very simple classic science experiment that I had done in my classroom with celery and I set about setting it up with the kids. So here it is an easy experiment to show the plant process transpiration using celery and food colouring.

Simple science experiment with celery and food colouring to explore transpiration in plants

Materials needed for the Plant Transpiration Experiment

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Celery with leaves still on

Liquid Food Colouring

Water

Glass or glass Jar

Knife

Setting up the Celery Science experiment

Materials needed for simple celery experiment with food colouring to explore transpiration in plants

In a glass add water and add a few drops of food colouring.

It’s better if it is the none natural sort as the particles tend to be too big to be transported up the stem of the celery and it won’t work. Also the darker or richer the colour the better. We found that blue was the clearest and easiest to see.

Simple botany experiment for kids to see the vessels in plant stems involved in transpiration

Mix well and add in the celery.

Easy plant science experiment with celery to show how transpiration in plants works

Leave in a window sill and watch the colours appear on the leaf.

Transpiration Experiment using Celery and Food Colouring

After the colour appears on the leaves. Take the stem out of the water and cut across with a knife. You will be able to see the vessels clearly in the stem.

Seeing the vessels within a plant stem used for transpiration and respiration in plants. Simple Science Experiments to explore plant structures

Transpiration Explained

Yes, this is a cool science experiment and the kids loved seeing the colour appear in the leaves. But there is some real science behind it! The experiment shows a process in plants called transpiration.

Transpiration is the transportation of water through the plant. Nutrients that the plant needs are dissolved in the water and taken to the parts of the plant that need them from the roots. Because the food colouring has small particles they can be transported in the water as well and you can see the progress.

The leaves of the plants have small holes on them that are connected to the vessels in the plants. The holes allow water to evaporate out and that forms a suction pressure in the vessels drawing water up through the roots.

The holes on the leave are called Stomata, the vessels that bring the water up through the stem the Xylem and the roots draw the water from the soil.

seed journal and activities printables showing the pages from Rainy Day Mum Shop

Plant Growth Activity Pack ~ $5.00

preview of a Plants Activity set printable pack all about photosynthesis and plant cells

Plant Cells & Photosynthesis ~ $5.00

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Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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