The capillary action experiment, involving placing a white carnation in colored water, and watching the color rise, through the stem, into the flower, is one of those old, tried, and true experiments, that I've noticed most of us fail at.
I have to admit to failing at it several times over the last few years. A fact, that was particularly frustrating to me, because I was sure we made it work, the first time we tried it, back when T was somewhere around three.
I wanted the younger children to get the whole wow! effect, that I remembered. But instead, for some reason, although we got some results, they were generally dismal - just the tiniest hint of color making it out to the tips of the petals.
Then, I read (and I have no idea where), that the trick is to use more food coloring.
So, last night when I happened on white carnations at the grocery store, I snatched them up, to try again. This time, we used a lot of food coloring - A LOT - as in 1 tablespoon per quarter cup of water. I was running low on red food coloring, so my attempt at red, and orange, had slightly less food coloring, but the blue, green, purple (which we had in an already mixed form), and yellow, received the entire dose.
Within an hour, we were seeing results.
And this morning - success!!!
It was interesting to watch the orange, and purple. Blue, and yellow rise much faster than the red. And, while our red is not as RED as it might of be, next to the other bright colors, the pink is still pretty.
It's amazing how much more attentively children will listen to a lesson on transpiration, cohesion of water molecules, and capillary action, after being wowed by a bright rainbow bouquet.
Check out Steve Spangler's site for an easy to digest, scientific explanation of this experiment.
And, don't forget, that Sunday there will be lots more science fun for children to be found, over at Adventures in Mommydom's Science Sunday link-up.
It's great to be a homeschooler.