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Weird Water

Background Information:

People Sip, Dogs Lap, But Plants Always Drink with a Straw

The trees and many of the smaller plants of the Bonita Channel are typical of the vegetation that once lived along stream courses in Southern California. Streams and ponds with plants requiring water at or near the surface are called riparian habitats. Willows, for example, can tolerate their root system being completely inundated with water and so can thrive along flowing streams such Bonita Channel. Higher up the slopes of the channel, where soils remain dry for most of the year, willows and other water-loving plants such as cattails cannot grow.

However, all plants, even the shrubs on the upper dry slopes, require some water. That water must be collected by the root system and transported to the stems and leaves where it is needed. So, how do you think that water gets to the tops of those willow trees? The blood in your body, which happens to be mostly made of water, is pushed through thousands of miles of blood vessels by the beating of your heart. The blood carries with it all the nutrients to your cells, as well as all the wastes from those same cells. But plants don’t have hearts, or any other moving parts for that matter. So how do they do it? It all comes down to the very special properties of one of the weirdest molecules in the universe: Water.

This activity has four experiments, click below to get started:

Activity 1.1 - Water Can Defy Gravity
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Activity 1.2 - Taking a Ride on the Plant Stem Elevator
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Activity 1.3 - What Goes in Has to Come Out
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Activity 1.4 - Building a Plant from the Ground Up
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