Academic journal article Teaching Science

What's in a Leaf?

Academic journal article Teaching Science

What's in a Leaf?

Article excerpt


* Clear plastic bottle

* Drinking straw

* Plasticine or Blu-Tac

* Large freshly cut leaf with a long stem

* Water

* Pencil


1. Fill the plastic bottle with water, leaving 2 cm of air at the top.

2. Hold the leaf in the top of the bottle with the end of the leaf's stem below the surface of the water.

3. Mould the plasticine around the stem, plugging the opening of the bottle.

4. Poke a hole in the plasticine with the pencil. Take care not to damage the leaf.

5. Put the straw through the hole. The end of the straw must not reach the water.

6. Add some more plasticine to make sure there are no gaps where air could get through - you'll need a tight seal.

7. Stand in front of a mirror and gently suck some air out of the bottle through the straw. Watch what happens at the bottom of the leaf stem.


Just like people, plants need to breathe. They use oxygen and produce carbon dioxide in a process called respiration. Plants also use carbon dioxide and produce oxygen in a process called photosynthesis, which locks up energy in chemical bonds. …

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