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Make & Do Activity Kit
Dyed green flowers
In this colourful experiment we use the priciples of transpiration and capillary action to create green dyed ﬂowers. A wonderful experiment for St. Patrick’s Day!
Time: Approx.1 hour preparation Difﬁculty: Hints: Use a strong, thick stemmed ﬂower for the
split stem part of this experiment. The longer you leave your ﬂowers the darker the colour will go.
keep the ﬂowers 1. Always in water before the experiment. This helps keep the water ﬂowing in the stem. Fill 2 jars half full with water. about 20-30 drops of 2. Add green food colouring to one of the jars. The other should contain just plain water.
What you will need:
• 3-5 clear glass jars/ vases • white ﬂowers • a knife • green food colouring • water
step only: Choose a 3. Adult strong and thick stemmed ﬂower. Cut a spilt straight down the middle of the stem up to the base of the ﬂower. one half of the stem 4. Place into the green water and the other half into the clear water.
Note - We used white lisianthus, orchids and gerberas but you can also use roses, daisies, daffodils, tulips and carnations too. We found that orchids worked very well and gerberas worked quite well. The lisianthus didn’t seem to pick up the dye very easily.
all the rest of the 5. Place ﬂowers into jars with the dyed green water. Leave all the ﬂowers in a sunny spot to encourage transpiration. your ﬂower for 6. Check results in the next few days. Observe what has happened to the split ﬂower compared to the ﬂowers left whole.
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THE SCIENCE LAB
Make & Do Activity Kit
Dyed green flowers
What’s going on?
Most plants take their water from the earth through their roots. The water then travels up through the stem and into the leaves and ﬂowers. Cut ﬂowers have no roots but the stem will still draw up water to feed the leaves and ﬂower for a time. The ﬂower you split in half has drawn up both clear and dyed water through it’s stem. The dyed half of the ﬂower has received it’s nutrients from the half stem that was in the dye. Transpiration Transpiration is process by which water is evaporated from the petals and leaves of a plant. When the water is transpired from a plant the water in the stem is then pulled up behind it. You can see this happening when you suck water from a glass up into a drinking straw. Capillary action Water travels up the very small tubes in the stem and this process is called capillary action. The coloured dye helps you to see where the water is travelling though the stem and into the ﬂower. Look very carefully and you will see the path the dye has taken.
What is Saint Patrick’s Day?
Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the 4th Century. He went to Ireland to convert the pagan people there to Christianity. He used the threeleaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans. The colour green is his special colour and so St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with feasting and wearing green. It is also a festival to celebrate all things Irish and children try to hunt for the Leprechaun, a naughty Irish fairy, and his precious pot of gold.
What else can i do?
Create a rainbow of ﬂowers Place white ﬂowers into different coloured dyes. Which colour will be soaked up ﬁrst? How long will it take? Do some colours show up better than others? Look even closer Cut through the stem and petals and look at it under a microscope.
500 Harris St Ultimo PO Box K346 Haymarket NSW 1238 Australia
9 Tel: 02 6217 0111 http://play.powerhousemuseum.com
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialShareAlike 2.5 License.