Maze6. The sun brings life
Plant a sprouting potato in moist soil in a pot. Place it inthe corner of a shoebox and cut a hole in the oppositeside. Inside stick two partitions, so that a small gap isleft. Close the box and place it in a window. After acouple of days the shoot has found its way through thedark maze to the light.Plants have light-sensitive cells, which guide the direction of growth. Even the minimum amount of light entering the box causes the shoot to bend. It looks quite white, because the important greencolouring material, chlorophyll, necessary for healthy growth, cannot be formed in the dark.Fill a large glass jar with fresh water and place in it severalshoots of water weed.Place the jar in sunlight, and at once small gas bubbles willrise in the water. Invert a funnel over the plants and over it awater-filled glass tube. The gas, which is given off by the plantsslowly, fills the tube.Plants use sunlight. With its help, in the presence of chlorophyll, they make their building material,starch, from water and carbon dioxide, and give off oxygen. Oxygen has actually collected in theglass tube. If you remove the tube and hold a glowing splint in it, the splint will burn brightly.
7. Automatic watering
Fill a bottle with water and place it upside down and half-buriedin soil in a flower box. An air bubble rises up in the bottle fromtime to time, showing that the plants are using the water. Thewater reservoir is enough for several days, depending on thenumber of plants and the weather. Water only flows from the bottle until the soil round it is soaked. It starts to flow again onlywhen the plants have drawn so much water from the soil that it becomes dry, and air can enter the bottle. One notices that plants can take water more easily from loose soil than from hard.
8. Secret path
Dissolve a teaspoonful of salt in a glass of water and cover it tightly with parchment paper. Place the glass upside downin a dish containing water strongly coloured with vegetabledye. Although the parchment paper has no visible holes; thewater in the glass is soon evenly coloured. The tiny particlesof water and dye pass through the invisible pores in the parchment paper. We call such an exchange of liquids through a permeable membrane, osmosis.‘All living cells are surrounded by such a membrane, and absorb water and dissolved substances inthis way.