Capillary Action in Abiquiu

The school year is winding down, and we’re still trying to get outside as much as possible with our students! Yesterday our 4th-6th grade GATE students from Española headed back up to Abiquiu Lake to learn more about plants.

We began by taking a few minutes to finish those projects I keep hinting at. Our Open House is coming up on May 19, and our students are pretty excited to show off their projects!

Putting final touches on a project
Putting final touches on a project

Some of our student had already completed their projects, so they got to work helping us set up an experiment for later in the class. We collected some leaves and put some in a ziplock bag and others in clear bowls of water.


Our goal for the day was to learn about how plants take up water and how the process of cellular respiration works. We spent some time explaining these concepts and discussing the difference between cohesion and adhesion.


Reviewing past notes


We found a great activity to demonstrate capillary action that allowed us to drag out the food coloring. Our students took detailed observations as the colored water moved up the paper towel and mixed in the empty cup.




We also learned about stomata and transpiration!




At this point we were ready to check on our two experiments. We found that the leaves in the bag were surrounded by condensation- water left the leaves through transpiration and then condensed on the bag.

When we checked our leaves in the bowl, we did see small air bubbles on the leaves that had not been there when the leaves were placed in the water!



We also took a few minutes to investigate whether we could see the stomata on a leaf using clear nail polish to create a slide.

After all of this sitting and taking notes, everybody was ready to move. We headed out on a hike to investigate plants around the lake. We frequently stopped to discuss plants that we saw, whether they were native or invasive, and why we suspected they were growing where we found them.


Wildflowers are blooming!
Pointing to a particularly pretty rock and debating its formation



What a great group of kids!

We had a wonderful day learning all about plants and how they work. We only have one more session before the end of the year. We just wish we could keep teaching these kids all summer!

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