Vegetable Vampires Hands on Science Experiment perfect for Halloween
This is an easy to do, fun, hands on science experiment that is perfect for Halloween week! If you want a copy of this book, you can find it on Amazon here, Outdoor Science Lab for Kids. Liz Lee Heinecke also wrote another fun book, with tons of easy and fun kitchen experiments called, Kitchen Science Lab for Kids © 2014 by Quarry Books Text © 2014 Liz Lee Heinecke Photography © 2014 Amber Procaccini Photography
If you want to have some fun, grab a head of cabbage, some food coloring and your kids. Enjoy the Vegetable Vampires project from Outdoor Science Labs for Kids.
Vegetable Vampires: Make creepy cabbages drink fake blood to see capillary action at work.
- 2 large cups, plastic containers, or jars, large enough to hold the base of half of your cabbage
- Warm water
- Food coloring
- Head of fresh napa cabbage
- Sharp knife
- Fruits and veggies, such as olives and pepper, for decoration
- Rubber bands or string
- Step 1: Fill your containers or jars two-thirds of the way to the top with warm (not hot) water. Add two or more drops of blue food coloring to one container and ten or more drops of red food coloring to the other one.
- Step 2: With a sharp knife, cut the cabbage in half vertically, from the bottom up, leaving the top 4 inches (10 cm) or so intact, so the two sections are still attached at the crown. If possible, try to cut down the middle of one of the big leaves, so it will turn two different colors when you do the experiment.
- Step 3: Using rubber bands or string, secure the bottom of each side of the cabbage and make a fresh cut at the bottom, about an inch (a few cm) up from the old cut.
- Step 4: Put your two cups side by side and submerge half of the base of your cabbage in the red water, and the other half in the blue water.
- Step 5: Decorate your “vampires” with eyes and spooky eyebrows made from olives and peppers (or whatever you have in the refrigerator). Secure the decorations with toothpicks.
- Step 6: Check the cabbages every hour or so to see how much colored water they’re drinking.
Creative Enrichment: What happens if you use ice water for this experiment? Does adding sugar or salt affect your results? If you mix several colors together, are they all taken up at the same rate by the cabbage?
Safety Tips and Hints: Plan ahead. For the best result, your “vampires” will have to drink for 24 to 48 hours. An adult should help young children cut the cabbage.
The Science Behind the Fun:
- Like vampires, plants prefer a liquid diet. They survive by drawing nutrients dissolved in water up into their stems, stalks, trunks, branches, and leaves.
- Capillary action is the main force that allows the movement of water up into plants. In a narrow tube, on a surface that attracts water, the attraction between the surface and water, coupled with the attraction of the water molecules to each other, pulls water up. Plants are composed of huge numbers of tube-shaped cells that take advantage of these physical forces.
- In this experiment, you can observe colored water being taken up, via capillary action, into your cabbage.
- Imagine how high the water in giant redwoods must travel to reach the leaves at the top. In very tall trees, a process called transpiration helps the water overcome the forces of gravity.
I am the final member of an awesome blog tour, so please go and check out the other fun experiments that my fellow bloggers have posted!
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