Science projects involving cut flowers help children to learn about and appreciate the natural world. Flowers are ideal for children’s science projects because they are inexpensive, and children enjoy working with them because of their beautiful colors and varieties. Have students write down what they think is going to happen before each project, observe the flowers each day and make detailed notes.
This science project is suitable for children in third grade and is relatively simple. It aims to establish whether cut flowers survive longer in cold or warm water. You need several white carnations or roses, food coloring, and two vases (juice jugs or pop bottles will do). Fill one jug with cold water and the other with warm (but not boiling) water. Add some food coloring, as this makes it easier to see how quickly the flowers are taking in the water. The food additives also make the flowers change color.
Sweet or Salty Flowers
Young scientists can carry out this experiment to determine whether salt or sugar helps cut flowers to stay alive longer. Carnations are ideal for this experiment because they are inexpensive and stay fresh longer. You need 18 flowers and nine containers. Label three containers with "salt," three with "sugar "and three with "none." Put about 3 cups of water into each vase and add 1 tbsp. of salt to the salt containers and 1 tbsp. of sugar to the three sugar vases. The three remaining vases should only contain tap water. Cut the flower stems with scissors, then place two flowers in each of the nine vases. Chart the progress of the flowers each day to determine which solution helps flowers to stay alive longer.
Boost flower power with a medicinal pick-me-up. Adding two aspirin tablets to a vase of cut flowers raises the acidity of the water and helps flowers to live longer. Test this for yourself by dividing a bunch of flowers equally and placing half the flowers in a vase containing just water and the other half in a vase with two aspirin tablets added to the water. Make your project more sophisticated by experimenting with different brands of aspirin to establish which are most agreeable to the flowers. Place the two vases in a cool place with plenty of natural light, thus ensuring that the flowers are exposed to the same levels of light and heat.
This project demonstrates how stems are necessary for a flower’s survival. Use scissors to cut the stem off of one fresh-cut flower, and leave another flower intact. Put the flowers in a safe place, but do not place them in water. Observe the flowers over three days. Does the flower with its stem intact survive longer without water? It should, because the stem still contains water to feed the flower.
About the Author
Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Elizabeth Burns began writing professionally in 1988. She has worked as a feature writer for various Irish newspapers, including the "Irish News," "Belfast News Letter" and "Sunday Life." Burns has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ulster as well as a Master of Research in arts.