Encouraging your children to enjoy science can have benefits far away down the line. What parent doesn’t want to brag about their rocket-scientist son or daughter?
The key to getting that passion for science ignited is to start early and educate often! But usually, if you tell a child they’re about to learn, they won’t get too excited. Thankfully, an experiment can fix that. A simple one is helping them understand how plants “drink water.” Let’s learn how to proceed:
1. Provide a Basic Introduction and Background
If your child seems completely unsure about the situation, it might be best to start by simply getting a family plant. Keep it on the windowsill, and have him or her water it everyday, and note that it gets sunlight. This will provide them with at least a little background on the magic at hand. Eventually, they might ask where all the water is going. That’s the sign that it’s time for your experiment to begin
2. Hypothesize and Test
Have them write down a list of questions they want the answers to. Maybe it’s “How do plants drink water?” Or even “Why do plants drink water?” It could be “Do they drink water like humans do?”
If they’re older, they might have heard words such as molecules or photosynthesis before. Be prepared to answer questions about definitions should they be ready. Once all the questions are written down, the experiment can begin.
Select several kinds of flowers
Get a few samples of each, and place them into different cups.
You’ll now want to put a small amount of fresh water in 1/2 the cups, and a larger amount in the other half.
Dividing those two sections in half, add food dye color to 1/4 of the cups, and 1/4 to another fourth in a different amount of water section. Blue food dye typically works best.
Water the plants with the exact amount as needed throughout the length of the experiment
After each water, have your child takes pictures and make notes about each pictures status.
After about two weeks, you can call your experiment complete! And these point, the four different sets of flowers should look very different, and provide your child with the kind of results needed to at least answer some of their questions. If they still have unanswered questions, work with them to find the answers on the internet.
I’ll answer the first one for you: The name of the process you just tested? Transpiration. You have to answer the next set of questions on your own!