How Does Water Climb a Tree?

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In this activity, learners conduct an experiment to explore how water flows up from a tree's roots to its leafy crown. Learners observe as dyed water travels up tubes within a stalk of celery to turn the color of its leaves. Use this activity to introduce learners to how trees and plants stay hydrated as well as special properties of water. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • a cup, half-filled with water
  • some blue or red food coloring
  • a stalk of celery with some leaves on it


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Ontario Science Centre, 2011