100 Days of Science #36: Plants Breathe Experiment

We've always heard that plants use water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide to make their food and that they give off oxygen, but we can't really see that oxygen they give off... until now!

We did a super fun and simple science experiment a few weeks ago that allowed us to see all the air bubbles that plants give off as they're making their food.  Granted I can't test it to be sure it's oxygen but thankfully my kids didn't question that.

We picked two leaves; roughly the same size and shape from the same tree.  We needed leaves that would fit flat across the top of our glasses and we had a tree nearby that was just perfect.

We filled our cups with cool water and gently laid our leaves on top.

Then we set one leaf in a dark cabinet (with the door shut!) for a minimum of an hour.

And set the other glass out in a sunny window.  Our day wasn't as sunny as I would have liked for this experiment so when we checked our leaves after an hour and didn't see a huge difference we let them both sit in the dark and light for another hour.

The leaf that was in the sun begins to have air bubbles all around it!

And on the sides of the glass too
The leaf that was in the cabinet has hardly any air bubbles.

We even lifted the glasses up to see underneath the leaves and still noticed that the sunlit leaf had way more air bubbles than the one in the dark cabinet.

The leaf in the cabinet wasn't making nearly as much food without the sunlight and therefor doesn't give off oxygen.

Pretty neat!

Others in this series:

2.  Field Trip to the Ecotarium 
3.  Learning About Air Molecules

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