Welcome to the DC Digital Lab!

Our team has put together a collection of videos, experiments and activities that you can do at home. We are here to help you overcome boredom and learn a few things in the process! Simply click the image or video to start your at home discoveries.

 

Super Sprouts!

Have you ever wondered how plants grow? When you walk outside you can see plants everywhere you go. You may even have a plant in your home. The plant life cycle happens similarly to all living things. Plants start their life from a seed and grow-up to become a mature plant. This way of growth can be measured in a cyclical period from the birth of the plant, to the death of the plant. The baby of the plant. Seeds spread across the land through various ways such as animals, wind, water and humans. Once the seed finds the perfect conditions it begins to germinate. Germination is when the seed breaks through the protective shell and begins growing roots and leaves. The first sign of growth out of the soil is called a seedling. When a seedling reaches full maturity, it will then be able to produce seeds and pollen. This will then start the life cycle over.

Plant Parts

There are six major parts of a plant, all of which have a very important job. During this lab you will be able to learn and identify plant parts and understand their importance to the plant itself. The basic parts of most land plants are roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds. The function of each plant parts is described below. `

  • Roots anchor the plants in the soil and absorb nutrients and water that are needed by the rest of the plant. `
  • Stems support the upper part of the plant and act as a transport system for nutrients, water, sugar, and starches. (Photosynthesis can occur in the stem of some plants such as: cacti, celery, asparagus, and bananas.)
  • Leaves are the parts of the plant where photosynthesis usually occurs—where food for the plant is made. The green substance called chlorophyll, captures light energy and uses it to convert water and carbon dioxide into plant food and oxygen. `
  • Flowers are the reproductive part of plants. They often have petals and fragrances to attract pollinators such as birds, bees, and other insects. Most flowers have four main parts: petals, stamen (anther and filament), pistil (stigma, style and ovary), and sepals. After flowers are pollinated and fertilized, they produce seeds in the ovary of the flower.
  • Fruits are the fleshy substances that surround seeds. They protect the seeds and attract animals to eat them. This helps spread the seed
  • Seeds are covered with a protective seed coat and have one or two cotyledons. Cotyledons are the food for the baby plant until it can make its own food from light and are often the first embryonic leaves of the plant

Parts of the Flower

Four Key Components of a Flower

The main purpose of a flower is to continue to grow the species in order for it to survive. Most flowers need to attract pollinators to survive. The most vibrant and pleasant-smelling flowers have evolved over time to attract these pollinators. Like every living thing, the main purpose is to continue the next generation. Without pollinators such as bees and birds there would not be an abundance of different plants. The four main parts of the flower include:

  • Sepal: is the protective part of the flower. The sepal is typically green and leaf-like, some botanists say they are modified leaves. They can come in many other colors depending on what the plant is.
  • Petals: are the main attraction source of pollinators. The more vibrant and fragrant the petals are the more likely they are to attract pollinators. A combination or cluster of petals is called a corolla. Some flowers have big showy petals while others remain dull. The difference is that the showy vibrant plants need to have pollinators to live, while the dull plants can be easily pollinated by the wind.

Stamen: is considered to be the male organ of the plant. The stamen consists of two parts, the filament and the anther. The filaments purpose is to hold up the anther. The anther is what produces the pollen to attract pollinators. When a pollinator gets anther stuck to it, it then transfers the anther to other plants which helps them reproduce and grow.

Now that you know a little bit about plants, check out the videos, experiments, and activities for more fun!

 

Create your Carnation

 We will use white carnations to demonstrate how water, food, and minerals are transported up a stem into the leaves.

Materials:

  • 3 or more white carnations (other white flowers work, but not as well)
  • 3 or more cups
  • Food coloring
  • Scissors

Procedure:

  • Fill cups of water half way
  • Drop different food coloring in each cup
  • Cut the ends of the carnation at an angle to trim
  • Leave the carnation in the cup and wait one hour
  • Once you wait one hour see what happens to your flower
  • Keep the flower in water for a week and see how it changes daily

At the end of the lesson you should notice that the white flower will begin to change color depending on the color of the water. This happens because when the water is taken in from the roots, it is then brought through the stem into the leaves and the flower. Which is why the color changes.

Chlorophyll Painting

We will use the chlorophyl in green leaves to create a unique tree painting

Materials:

  • Spinach and or soft green leaves
  • Tree printout

Procedure:

  • If you break the leaves apart and drag them across the paper there should be green pigmentation
  • Try using different leaves to see if the pigment changes on the paper
  • If you rip the leaves apart or crush them together, you will get different desired effects

Video Experiments and Activities

DIY Science PDF experiments

Virtual Critter Corner