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Did you know that plants transpire? It is kind of like perspiring, but not quite. We did a little leaf transpiration experiment this week that was really cool. I have never done this one before, but it was in my son’s preschool curriculum. We loved it and I was surprised how neat it really was.
How to Do the Leaf Transpiration Experiment:
For our leaf transpiration project, we went out into our yard on a sunny day and found a big leaf on a tree. We covered it with a plastic bag and sealed it tight around the branch with a rubber band. After a minute I could see the bag beginning to fog up a bit. We left it and I said we would come back in a hour or two to see what had happened.
Being a busy absent-minded mom, I forgot about it until the next day. I reminded my son and we went running out to the yard to see what might have happened. We were both quite surprised to see quite a lot of water had collected in the plastic bag!
My son was wondering if he could drink it. I opened the bag to smell it and it was SO stinky, so I said no to the drinking!! However, this could actually be a great way to get water in an emergency situation. The water is very clean.
So, of course, I had to learn the science behind this leaf transpiration business and share it with my friends! (I call you all my friends. I hope that’s ok!)
Transpiration is the process of water moving through plants and its evaporation from leaves, stems and flowers. We all know that plants need water. However, it only uses a small amount. The rest is lost by transpiration (about 99%!!) Leaves have pores all over them that you can see if you look closely on the bottom side with a magnifying glass. These pores are called stomata. The plants open their stomata to let in carbon dioxide and water comes out of the pores in the process. It cools the plants, but it is also a critical part of the water cycle. Transpiration adds a huge quantity of the water back into the air.
Pretty cool, hu? I am certain that I must have learned this back in school, but somehow that whole process didn’t sink in the way it does now that I did this experiment! 🙂
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