A plant? It’s just…a plant!

By Reem

This week, our guest scientist Anna Chen joined us once again at Reavis to teach us about the differences in plant and animal biology. First up, an easy question: What is a plant?

“A plant? It’s just…a plant!”

But what does a plant do? Anna asks us about the differences between plants and animals.

“Animals can run!”
“Animals can eat!”
“Plants are just…plants!”

All good answers! A major difference in plant and animal biology is motion: animals are capable of movement, and plants are not. Animals need to eat food to live, and plants can make their own food. But what about water? Animals can drink water, but what do plants do?

The girls shared everything they knew about the water cycle, and how water from rain ends up in the ground, where it can be absorbed by the roots of a plant. From there, tubes called xylem suck the water up the plant like a straw, so the entire plant can get water and nutrients (“like blood vessels?” Yep!).

To see how xylem works, the girls experimented with the water transport mechanism of carnations, a type of flower. First, we put food dye in a cup of water to change it to any color we wanted. Then, we put the stem of the carnation in the dyed water. The water travels up the inside of the stem through the xylem, and eventually the white flower petals change into the color of the dye!

The girls were very creative with their mixing of different food dyes, and we ended up with a beautiful variety of multi-colored carnations. Thanks for the easy, fun experiment, Anna!

Next week, we’ll be looking back on everything we’ve learned so far with our Reflection of Knowledge. I’m excited to see the girls’ wonderful presentations!

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