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Investigating Water Transportation in Plants

In this worksheet, students will review the movement of water through a plant from root to leaf and answer questions on investigative work into this process.

'Investigating Water Transportation in Plants' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Plants

Curriculum subtopic:  Transporting Water in Plants

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Plants need lots of water. They use this water to make their own food by a very complicated chemical reaction called photosynthesis (photo - sin - thesis).

Plants do not have legs and arms like us, they cannot move independently. When they need food they cannot just hop into the kitchen, raid the fridge or pop out to the drive-thru. Instead a plant makes its own food using a gas that it gets from the air called carbon dioxide, water, and also light energy from the sun.

Diagram of photosynthesis

Plants get water from the ground; they grow roots which are very specialised parts of a plant designed to soak up as much water as possible from the soil. Water is then drawn up into the stem of the plant and then continues up the stem into the leaves.

The leaves of a plant are very important because this is where they make most of their food. Leaves are also very specialised parts of a plant. They are flat and thin to absorb lots of sunlight, they are connected to the roots of a plant by the stem so they can get lots of water, and they have lots of very tiny holes (pores) on the under side which allow carbon dioxide gas to move into the plant.

 

Let's take a closer look at some investigations that students have been carrying out into the movement of water through a plant.

David and George are trying to work out how water moves through a small plant.

Their teacher tells them: "The movement of water through a plant is like the movement of juice through a straw when you drink a carton of orange."

David and George decide to investigate. They fill a large glass with orange squash and each use a straw to drink from the beaker. They are able to observe the juice moving through the straw into their mouth.

Glass of squash with two straws

Choose the correct word to complete their conclusion.

Water is drawn up the stem by a sucking force from the ____________ of the plant.

bottom

top

Nicola is much cleverer than David and George, so the teacher challenges Nicola to identify which part of the plant sucks water up through the stem. 

Nicola knows that the part of the plant which sucks up water through the stem is found at the top of the plant. She writes down three possible answers.

Plant with roots

Which one of Nicola's answers is correct?

the flower

the fruit

the leaves

The teacher asks Wayne and Robin to demonstrate to the rest of the class how water moves through a plant using celery.

Wayne and Robin have carried out some research into this task using their school library and the Internet. They decide to place a short piece of celery into a beaker containing coloured water, they will leave the celery to stand for 10 minutes. When they return to the celery they will see that some of the coloured water has moved up the stem.

Sticks of celeryBeaker of blue water

When Wayne and Robin take the celery out of the plastic bag to set up the demonstration, they discover that the leaves are still attached to the stems. Wayne wants to take the leaves off because he thinks they'll get in the way and not have any effect on the demonstration, but Robin wants to leave them on because he thinks they will speed up the movement of the coloured water.

Who is right?

Robin

Wayne

Wayne does not accept that Robin is correct, so he challenges him to a science investigation. If Robin wins, Wayne says he will bring in a chocolate cake.

Their teacher helps them to set up their investigation. Both students will put a stem of celery in a beaker of coloured water and leave it to stand for 10 minutes. After this time they will measure with a ruler the distance the coloured water has moved up each stem.

Robin's stem still has the leaves attached. Wayne has removed the leaves from his stem.

Sticks of celery with leavesSticks of celery, no leaves

 

Wayne says: "The leaves will have no effect on the movement of water through the celery."

 

How will the rest of Mr Ferguson's class know if Wayne is correct?

The coloured water will have moved approximately the same distance through both stems.

The coloured water will move further in the stem with leaves attached.

Can you identify some factors that Wayne and Robin must keep the same to make their investigation a fair test?

Choose two answers.

the number of leaves

the length of the stem

the temperature

the volume of water

The teacher advises Wayne and Robin to place their stems in approximately 50 millilitres of water. He also suggests that the boys cut their stems so that they are both five centimetres in length.

Where should Wayne and Robin cut their stems?

from the top

from the bottom

The boys measure the volume of water in each of their beakers at the start of the investigation. Their experiment will run for 10 minutes, at the end of this time period the boys will measure the volume of water in each beaker again.

Stopwatch

What piece of scientific equipment should the boys use to measure the volume of water?

a mass balance

a clean beaker with markings on

a measuring cylinder

Robin and Wayne carry out their experiment.

They put their results into a table.

 

Student Volume of water at the start (cm3) Volume of water at the end (cm3) Volume of water taken up by the stem (cm3)
Robin 30 24  
Wayne 31 28 3

 

Robin has not worked out how much water was taken up by his celery stem. Can you help him?

Colleen is very clever and wants to be a biology teacher when she's older. She says: "I don't think this is a fair investigation. How do we know that Robin's result was accurate? It could just be a fluke result."

After reminding himself to set Colleen extra homework this week, their teacher says:

"Yes Colleen, you are correct. I was waiting to see who would think about that. How can we prove that Robin's result was correct and not a fluke?"

What do you think?

do the investiagtion again

look it up on the Internet

repeat the investigation at least 3 times

A variable is a factor that effects the result of a scientific investigation. All investigations have an independent variable, a dependent variable and many control variables.

  • Control variables are deliberately kept the same during an investigation.
  • The independent variable is deliberately changed.
  • The dependent variable is measured.

 

Think about Robin and Wayne's investigation.

Match the correct variables together.

Column A

Column B

the volume of water before and after
independent variable
leaves or no leaves
dependent variable
length of the celery stem
control variable
  • Question 1

David and George are trying to work out how water moves through a small plant.

Their teacher tells them: "The movement of water through a plant is like the movement of juice through a straw when you drink a carton of orange."

David and George decide to investigate. They fill a large glass with orange squash and each use a straw to drink from the beaker. They are able to observe the juice moving through the straw into their mouth.

Glass of squash with two straws

Choose the correct word to complete their conclusion.

Water is drawn up the stem by a sucking force from the ____________ of the plant.

CORRECT ANSWER
top
EDDIE SAYS
Just like when you use a straw to drink, water is pulled through the plant by a sucking force (or suction) from the top of the plant.
Can you work out which part of the plant is doing the sucking?
  • Question 2

Nicola is much cleverer than David and George, so the teacher challenges Nicola to identify which part of the plant sucks water up through the stem. 

Nicola knows that the part of the plant which sucks up water through the stem is found at the top of the plant. She writes down three possible answers.

Plant with roots

Which one of Nicola's answers is correct?

CORRECT ANSWER
the leaves
EDDIE SAYS
Nicola went for the leaves too.
Leaves need lots of water to help the plant make its own food, they carry out a special process which sucks up water from the stem into the leaf.
  • Question 3

The teacher asks Wayne and Robin to demonstrate to the rest of the class how water moves through a plant using celery.

Wayne and Robin have carried out some research into this task using their school library and the Internet. They decide to place a short piece of celery into a beaker containing coloured water, they will leave the celery to stand for 10 minutes. When they return to the celery they will see that some of the coloured water has moved up the stem.

Sticks of celeryBeaker of blue water

When Wayne and Robin take the celery out of the plastic bag to set up the demonstration, they discover that the leaves are still attached to the stems. Wayne wants to take the leaves off because he thinks they'll get in the way and not have any effect on the demonstration, but Robin wants to leave them on because he thinks they will speed up the movement of the coloured water.

Who is right?

CORRECT ANSWER
Robin
EDDIE SAYS
Leaves suck water up through the stems of a plant.
Can you think of an experiment, using celery, to prove this process is speeded up by the leaves?
  • Question 4

Wayne does not accept that Robin is correct, so he challenges him to a science investigation. If Robin wins, Wayne says he will bring in a chocolate cake.

Their teacher helps them to set up their investigation. Both students will put a stem of celery in a beaker of coloured water and leave it to stand for 10 minutes. After this time they will measure with a ruler the distance the coloured water has moved up each stem.

Robin's stem still has the leaves attached. Wayne has removed the leaves from his stem.

Sticks of celery with leavesSticks of celery, no leaves

 

Wayne says: "The leaves will have no effect on the movement of water through the celery."

 

How will the rest of Mr Ferguson's class know if Wayne is correct?

CORRECT ANSWER
The coloured water will have moved approximately the same distance through both stems.
EDDIE SAYS
If Wayne is correct, then the coloured water should move approximately the same distance through both stems.
Do you think this is a fair test?
  • Question 5

Can you identify some factors that Wayne and Robin must keep the same to make their investigation a fair test?

Choose two answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
the length of the stem
the temperature
EDDIE SAYS
It doesn't matter about the number of leaves on the stem because Wayne's will not have any attached anyway; remember the boys are investigating the difference between leaves and no leaves.
Also, it doesn't matter about the volume of water the stems are placed in because the investigation is only a very short one. As long as the stems are placed in enough water to cover the bottom of each stem the water will still move.
  • Question 6

The teacher advises Wayne and Robin to place their stems in approximately 50 millilitres of water. He also suggests that the boys cut their stems so that they are both five centimetres in length.

Where should Wayne and Robin cut their stems?

CORRECT ANSWER
from the bottom
EDDIE SAYS
If Robin cut his stem from the top, he'd cut off the leaves!
  • Question 7

The boys measure the volume of water in each of their beakers at the start of the investigation. Their experiment will run for 10 minutes, at the end of this time period the boys will measure the volume of water in each beaker again.

Stopwatch

What piece of scientific equipment should the boys use to measure the volume of water?

CORRECT ANSWER
a measuring cylinder
EDDIE SAYS
Measuring cylinders are the only equipment in the game when it comes to measuring volume! They measure volume with the marks up the side. Beakers have markings, but they're very approximate and a mass balance is just for weighing things.
  • Question 8

Robin and Wayne carry out their experiment.

They put their results into a table.

 

Student Volume of water at the start (cm3) Volume of water at the end (cm3) Volume of water taken up by the stem (cm3)
Robin 30 24  
Wayne 31 28 3

 

Robin has not worked out how much water was taken up by his celery stem. Can you help him?

CORRECT ANSWER
6
EDDIE SAYS
The volume of water taken up by each celery stem can be worked out by taking the volume of water at the end away from the volume at the start.
Do you think all of this water is still in the stem?
  • Question 9

Colleen is very clever and wants to be a biology teacher when she's older. She says: "I don't think this is a fair investigation. How do we know that Robin's result was accurate? It could just be a fluke result."

After reminding himself to set Colleen extra homework this week, their teacher says:

"Yes Colleen, you are correct. I was waiting to see who would think about that. How can we prove that Robin's result was correct and not a fluke?"

What do you think?

CORRECT ANSWER
repeat the investigation at least 3 times
EDDIE SAYS
Scientists always carry out as many repeats as they possibly can to rule out the possibility that their results are due to chance and not the factor they are investigating.
  • Question 10

A variable is a factor that effects the result of a scientific investigation. All investigations have an independent variable, a dependent variable and many control variables.

  • Control variables are deliberately kept the same during an investigation.
  • The independent variable is deliberately changed.
  • The dependent variable is measured.

 

Think about Robin and Wayne's investigation.

Match the correct variables together.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

the volume of water before and af...
dependent variable
leaves or no leaves
independent variable
length of the celery stem
control variable
EDDIE SAYS
Remember Robin and Wayne are trying to find out if the leaves affected the movement of water through the celery stems. They measured the volume of water before and after their investigation. To help make the investigation fair, they cut the celery stems so that they were the same length.
---- OR ----

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