Stems Study!

This week in Fantastic Photosynthesis, we learn about roots, stems and leaves. Here is a fun and simple experiment to do at home with your student to study how stems work!

Stem Study – print this worksheet to go with your experiment!

Materials: jars with water, food coloring and various plant stems

Process: Fill the jars about half way full of water. Add 4-6 drops of food coloring into the water, and stir until mixed. Place the stems in the water and leave them overnight. The next day, check your stems! What happened to your plant? What is the purpose of the stems? What does this tell you about how food and water travel through the stem into the leaves and flowers?


  • Chinese cabbage leaves are really good at showing how the colored water travels through the leaves.
  • If you use celery, trim the bottom of the celery off (the white part). After the water the experiment is complete, gently cut across the bottom of the celery, and pull the stem apart. You can see the tubes in the celery – that is what the water traveled through!
  • White carnations make it easy to see the color change. You can splice the stem into 2 or 3 sections, and place each section in a different colored jars. You should have a multi-colored carnation when done!
  • Have a blacklight handy? Experiment adding highlighters to your water. Carefully break open the highlighters and mix the color into the water. The next day, check it with a blacklight. What do you see?

Happy experimenting!


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