- Short drinking glasses
- Food coloring
- White flowers such as carnations,daisies, or dahlias (celery
may also be used)
X-Acto knife and gardening clippers
To conduct the experiment:
1. Fill two glasses with 2/3 cup of water each. Have your child pour half a vial of food coloring into each glass and mix. Let him choose two colors so there's a different shade in each glass.
2. Split the stem of a flower or the base of a celery stalk into two parts, and place one end in each glass. (If you prefer not to do any cutting, simply place a flower in each glass.) Trim the bottom of the stem so that the flower doesn't droop over the glass.
3. Ask your child to observe the flower with a magnifying glass. Within an hour, the veins of the stem will become colored by the food dye. The longer your child leaves the flower in the dyed water, the more color the flower will absorb. You can add to the learning by helping your child sketch the intensity of the flower's color at certain intervals (after two hours, four hours, and so on.)
4. Let him experiment with the placement of the flowers too. What happens if he leaves one on a windowsill? In a closet? Let him see that it's okay if the result isn't what he expects, Horstmeyer says: "Not even scientists know all the answers."
Copyright ? 2001. Reprinted with permission from the November 2001 issue of Child magazine.