Experiments with Carrots (for Kids!)
What can kids learn from experimenting with a carrot? Try these simple experiments.
Also, you must try Mr Carrot Head - Make a unique face to keep! Click here.
More games and tricks on the Fun page here.
(a) Windowsill Carrot Plant - Cut the top off a carrot leaving about 1/2 inch of the orange part and the same amount of green stems if the carrot has already started sprouting from the top. Press the carrot piece into damp sand or soil in a saucer or bowl. Just put a little water into the dish if sand/soil are not available. Soon pretty leaves could appear and hey presto you have a nice plant to keep at a window in bright light. The root will not regenerate itself, but if there is enough of the root left, it is possible to plant it and get some foliage from it.
The carrot top in time might flower and it is very nice for beneficial insects and butterflies. Carrots are a biennial and will flower when they are 2 years old. The plant will eventually produce a flower and then seeds. If you are lucky the seeds will be viable and you can plant them in the ground to grow real carrots. Learn about carrot seeds here.
That said, depending on what variety your carrot is, it could grow the same type of carrot (from the seeds) if it is an open pollinated variety.
If it is a hybrid variety (which is what most commercial carrots sold in the store are, often called "F1", it has a
mixture of genes and you could get many which are different from each other, or
the seed could be sterile or very weak. Be aware that carrots can also cross with the wild
carrot plant called
"Queen Anne's Lace".
B. Experiments with Carrot Roots
Experiment No1 - Get to the root
What You Need:
3 Carrots; Sharp knife; Cutting board; Glass; Water; Red food colouring
What You Do:
1. Fill a glass half full with water.
2. Cut the end tip off of a carrot. Ask an adult to help you!
3. Put the carrot in the glass of water.
4. Put the glass near a window that lets in sunshine.
5. Watch the carrot for a few days.
What Is Happening
The carrot itself is really what we call a "taproot." This is a big and main root that grows straight down into the ground. Along its sides, little roots grow, too. Some trees, plants and bushes have a major taproot; others do not. Roots are really important! They hold a plant in place when it is windy. They keep soil around the plant . And most of all, roots conduct water from the soil up to the plant.
Fun No 2 - absorption
1. Repeat the first experiment with a new carrot, but this time put 10 drops of red food colouring into the glass of water.
2. Put the carrot in the water for several days.
3. Put the carrot on the cutting board and with the help of an adult, cut the carrot in half. Look inside. You will see red colouring in the tubes of the carrot that go from the bottom to the top of it. This shows you that water was being absorbed by the bottom or tip of the carrot and travelling up the inside of the carrot. This is how plants and trees get water from their roots.
Experiment No 3 - Root cross section
Repeat this same experiment as above but this time cut the carrot in a cross section. Then you can look at how the carrot is structured from that point of view.
What Is Happening?
Radishes, beets, turnips and parsnips are also taproots. You might want to get some of these and cut them to see how they are made. It also is interesting that we eat many taproots!
Try steaming, baking or eating these taproots raw! As you think about plants that we eat, check out which veggies we eat that are the stem parts, the leaves, or the flowering part of the plant. Some plants, stems, roots, taproots and flowers are delicious!
You should always "dig in" any giant vegetable deep with lots of organic matter, take extra care over feeding, watering and pest control and, if showing, harvest at the very last moment for freshness.
Fill a 6 inch-wide 4 foot long drainpipe with clean fine sand. (Always be optimistic). Make a hole in the sand with a long pole and fill it with good potting compost. Sow three seeds in the compost and thin to the best one when they have germinated.
Water from the top for the first two months and thereafter from the bottom to encourage the roots to seek out moisture. At harvest time wash out as much sand as possible using a hosepipe before very gently pulling up the carrot. If you pull too hard you may damage the long tapering root.
Here is an example of Hunkins fine work. For more examples see the web site. Click here.
This activity uses a common carrot and
two different metals to make a enough electricity to run a small digital
Swallowing a Live Goldfish! (The Secret).
You're not going to believe the method.
It's so ridiculous, but it works! What you need:
floats Carrot or Apple?
Carrot Magic for
The American Chemical Society develops materials for elementary school age children to spark their interest in science and teach developmentally appropriate chemistry concepts. The Activities for Children collection includes hands-on activities, articles, puzzles, and games on topics related to children’s everyday experiences. See more about the carrot floating experiments and the science here (pdf download). (American Chemical Society)
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