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Water and Plants in Action

45-60 min



What Will You Learn?

You will learn how plants absorb water and how they carry it from their roots to the flowers. We will know the xylem and the capillary action.


A great idea to do prior to our project is to brainstorm questions about plants, What is your favorite plant? What is the stem? For as they move forward, get to the question, how do plants get water from the roots to the leaves?

Place Your Celery in Colored Water

Step 1

Fill each jar halfway with water, then pour a drop of food coloring into each glass.

Step 2

 Cut about an inch off the bottom of the celery stalks.

Step 3

Place the celery stalks in the coloring water and let them rest for about 20 minutes.

Check Celery

Step 4

Open the celery stalks to better see how the color travels through the stalks.

Step 5

Leave another celery for a longer time (40 minutes) and look at the stalks, what do you see? The color should start to appear in small spots on the ends of the celery, and even on the leaves.

Step 6

What is happening?

The answer is small tubes within the stem, called xylem. They draw water from the roots like a straw through a process called capillary action.

Capillary action is what happens when water rises through things, this because it is sticky, for example after washing your hands, the drops that stick to your fingers.

The water clings to the walls of a tube and begins to rise a few inches. It also sticks to itself, thus attracting more water as it rises. Gradually, capillary action allows water to rise to all the different parts of a plant through the xylem tubes in the stem.

The leaves help the water to move up the xylem. They have small holes that let out the extra water that the plant uses, so more water can rise

What's Next?

You can experiment with other plants, such as flowers that will paint the petals, over time how long does it take to completely paint a celery?

Take it Further?

You can experiment more about the xylem and the stem by creating a zip line mechanism.

Using cardboard, colored sheets, scissors, string, glue, a straw, and metal circles you can take your creativity further.


What is in the stem of plants? What is xylem? What is capillary action? How does the water get from the roots to the plants?

Further Resources


Xylem: a lignified conductive plant tissue that supplies fluids from one part of vascular plants to another. It carries water, mineral salts and other nutrients from the roots to the leaves of the plants.

capillary action: it is important to move the water (and all the things that are dissolved in it). It is defined as the movement of water within the spaces of a porous material, due to adhesion forces and surface tension

adhesion: Adhesion is the property of matter by which two surfaces of the same or different substances join and form when they come into contact, and are held together by intermolecular forces.

roots: it is the organ belonging to plants that is introduced into the earth or in a different body to absorb the substances necessary for the plant to grow and develop

stem: it is the organ that supports the leaves, flowers and fruits. Its main functions are to support and transport photosynthates between roots and leaves.


More info

Diego Francisco June 4, 2021
I am a full-stack developer, I have participated in technology and innovation competitions. I have collaborated with companies such as: Sesame Street, Make Community and in Mexico with Educational Television and Fundación Televisa, as well as with CONACYT creating educational content. We have designed and taught workshops throughout the Mexican Republic with Talent Land, the SEP of Jalisco and the Spain Cultural Center. And all this with the educational brand that I created with my sister. MoonMakers.