Happy Mother’s day to me!

Happy Mother’s day to UK yummy mummies!

Finally, a lovely weather weekend with a bright, warm sunny Sunday morning for Mother’s day. A pretty tiring one for my husband and I though, as the littlest ‘wowzer’ was up pretty much the whole night with a developing cold and sore throat. Fun times. Most of the night was an ‘almost asleep….drifting, drifting, zzz – WOAH, GET UP!’ hourly experience. I repeat, fun times.

Nevertheless, in the morning I was rewarded with a beautiful bunch of flowers accompanied with a strong coffee which hit the spot. The kids also left me alone for a BIT (3mins and 42 seconds) to enjoy all of this. I want to take this opportunity to thank my husband for entertaining them for the whole of the 3mins and 42seconds. It could not have been easy.

So what to do with a lovely bunch of flowers whilst semi-hungover (yes, I forgot to mention this earlier!) and lacking sleep…..cut them up and dip them in coloured water of course! I took advantage of some of the white flowers I had in my beautiful bouquet and planned a quick science session. This took no time at all and again, I had everything I needed in my kitchen. The results for this are visible which is great for preschoolers however, time is required. So they get to practice a bit of patience too!

For this you need:

  • White flowers (Roses, Chrysanthemum, Carnations, Daisies. You can even use Celery or Chinese cabbage leaves)
  • Equal sized cups/glasses
  • Water
  • Liquid food colouring.

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Before beginning the experiment we had a general discussion about the flowers. Many of the key questions from the activity are listed below. I began the session this way just to find out what the children already knew, if anything, and also to just ‘warm them up’ as it were and get them focused.

We talked about the parts of the flowers and what they do. The little one spoke a lot about bees and honey – well she just kept saying ‘bees’ and ‘honey’ in a variety of differently phrased statements. It made us chuckle but, also, allowed us to extend the learning further by explaining simply and briefly pollination and the importance of bees. We also discussed how to look after plants in general and the fact that this bunch would not grow but we could keep them alive. It was at this point we started to draw attention to the water in the vase and why it was needed. It was fabulous when my number one ‘wowzer’ made a straw sucking noise to imitate what was going on and pointing where the water was going. This led to enquiring as to how we could prove this was the case. I stopped asking questions at this point and actually informed them as to what I was going to set up.

A little food colouring was put into the glasses with equal amount of  water in each glass, mixed and then we simply placed the flowers (which were all cut to an equal size and snipped at an angle) into the glasses. I only had blue, green & red colouring but they were smart enough to suggest some other colours with a little prompt into colour mixing. I also had a flower kept in normal water as the ‘control’ and just out of interest I split one flower’s stem in half and placed each half in a different colour.

It was at this point I encouraged the children to talk about what might happen. Now the littlest is 2.5yrs old – honestly she got this! I had prepared very quickly a hand drawn ‘worksheet’ for them to record their predictions on. Nothing fancy, all hand drawn in a few minutes – if that.

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All they had to do was record what they think would happen. There was no wrong answer. They could have left the flowers uncoloured or coloured them.

Mine coloured them in. Then asked for a biscuit.

Now these will be great to come back to when we check the results as the results are not instant. You will probably see changes in 1hr+ and the results can be checked against their predictions.

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And we wait…….

The kids have been so eager and checking throughout the day. I will update with pictures of the final result. The tips have begun to change colour and the kids are pretty impressed. I think they are also pretty smug that their predictions seem to be turning out right….

How does it work?

‘Up the xylem, down the phloem’ – a phrase I remember well from a-level biology. I don’t know why?! The flowers are taking the water via the stem using tubes called the xylem. The water passes up the xylem to the top and into the petals. With coloured water this process becomes visible. This is called transpiration. Go ahead and introduce these words to the midgets!

Keywords used:

  • Flower
  • Growth
  • Water
  • Alive
  • Stem
  • Petal
  • Leaf
  • Absorb
  • Drinking
  • Carried
  • Guess
  • Predict
  • Transpiration

Key questions asked:

  • Can you name the parts of a flower?
  • How do we look after flowers/a plant?
  • What do plants need to grow?
  • What do these flowers need to stay alive?
  • Why do we keep them in water?
  • Where is the water going?
  • How do we know the plants are ‘drinking’ the water?
  • How do we make purple?
  • What do you think will happen?
  • Which parts will change colour?
  • How long will it take?
  • Which colour will be absorbed first?
  • Which colour will create the darkest flower?
  • Which will create the lightest?
  • Which colour will not be absorbed?

To extend this investigation further (there are LOTS of ways, here are just a few that would work with preschoolers):

  • Use different types of white flowers
  • Use different coloured liquids e.g. fizzy drinks, cordials
  • See if placing the flowers in different conditions e.g. sunny place, dark place effect the speed at which transpiration occurs.

 

This really is a piece of mothers day cake. So if you have a lovely bouquet with some white flowers that could do with some jazzing up then give this a go. If you don’t then how about that rotting celery in the salad drawer? Come on, who on earth even likes celery??

I have a great one planned for next week. Both myself and my husband will be severely hungover and it involves fire……..watch this space!

Please like & share this blog if you enjoyed what you read or think someone may find it useful or even both!

 

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