Earth science, natural science, whatever you want to call it, you will want to try this activity learning about the structure of plant leaves and how water travels through leaf veins with the kids this season. This fun and simple spring STEM activity is a great way to see behind the scenes of how plants work! You won’t beLEAF your eyes (see what I did there)!
DISCOVER HOW WATER TRAVELS THROUGH LEAF VEINS!
AMAZING PLANT LEAVES
Get ready to add this simple how water travels through leaf veins activity, to your spring STEM lesson plans this season. If you want to learn about how plants transport water and food let’s dig in! While you’re at it, make sure to check out these other fun spring science activities.
Our science activities and experiments are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind! Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only 15 to 30 minutes to complete and are heaps of fun! Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!
HOW WATER MOVES THROUGH A LEAF ACTIVITY
Let’s get right to learning about how water moves through the veins in a leaf in this simple spring science activity. Head outdoors, find some green leaves and be prepared to learn how they really work!
YOU WILL NEED:
- A jar or glass
- Fresh leaves (a variety of sizes is fine). This experiment works best with leaves that are white in the center or light green, and have obvious veins.
- Red food coloring
- Patience, this activity will take a little while before you can start to observe changes!
- Magnifying glass (optional)
HOW WATER TRAVELS THROUGH LEAVES ACTIVITY SET UP:
STEP 1: Cut a green leaf off of a plant or tree. Remember, you really want to find leaves that are light green or have a white center.
STEP 2: Add water to your glass or jar and then add food coloring. Add several drops or use gel food coloring. You really want it DARK red for high drama!
STEP 3: Place the leaf into the jar with the water and food coloring, with the stem inside the water.
STEP 4: Observe over several days as the leaf “drinks” the water.
LEAF VEIN ACTIVITY IN THE CLASSROOM
This simple spring activity with leaves is perfect for your classroom. My best tip is this! Conduct this experiment over the course of a week and have your students observe the changes each day. This activity does take a day or two to really get moving, but once it does it’s really fun to observe.
Don’t forget to try it with a variety of leaves and perhaps even different colors of food coloring. The possibility is endless from oak tree leaves to maple leaves and everything in between. Do you see a difference between how the process works with different leaves? Note the changes each day, what is the same, what is different (compare and contrast)? What do you think will happen (prediction)? These are all excellent questions to ask your students!
WHAT DO THE VEINS OF A LEAF DO?
You would have observed how the cut leaves took up water from where they would have been attached to the stem. The water moved through the branching leaf veins. Putting colored dye in the water in the vase allows us to observe this movement of water.
You will notice that the veins in leaves have a branching pattern. Are the leaf vein patterns of different leaves the same or different? Leaf veins are made up of two types of vessels (continuous long thin tubes). Xylem vessel, which transports water from the roots of the plant to the leaves via capillary action. Phloem, which takes the food made in the leaves via photosynthesis, to the rest of the plant.
WHAT IS CAPILLARY ACTION?
Capillary action is the ability of a liquid (our colored water) to flow in narrow spaces (the stem) without the help of an outside force, like gravity and even against gravity. Think about how large tall trees are able to move lots of water so far up to their leaves without a pump of any kind. As water moves into the air (evaporates) through a plant’s leaves, more water is able to move up through the plant’s stem. As it does so, it attracts more water to come alongside it. This movement of water is called capillary action.
MORE FUN SPRING ACTIVITIES TO TRY
LEARN ABOUT THE STRUCTURE OF LEAVES FOR FUN SCIENCE!
Discover more fun and easy science & STEM activities right here. Click on the link or on the image below.