If you think of celery as being a bundle of thin straws, then it’s easy to see how this experiment works. In this activity, you will get water to creep up through the plant tissue (the celery stalk) and find out how to make it go faster and slower.

The part of the celery we eat is the stalk of the plant.  Plant stalks are designed to carry water to the leaves, where they are needed for the plant to survive.  The water travels up the celery as it would travel up any plant.

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Download Student Worksheet & Exercises

1. First, find four celery stalks about the same size with leaves still attached.

2. Mix up a four-cup batch of colored water (try purple).

3. Place your celery stalks in the water, leaf-end up. After an hour or two, take it out and place it on the paper towel. Label your celery stalk with the each time length it was in the water.

4. Repeat this for different increments of time. Try one overnight!

5. Use a ruler and measure how high the water went. Record this in your science journal.

6. Now make a graph that compares the time to distance traveled by placing the time on the horizontal axis and the distance traveled on the vertical.

7. What happens if you start with hot water? Ice cold water? Salt water?

8. What happens if you cut the celery stalk at the base high enough so it straddles two cups of different colors?


  1. What two types of transport move substances into a cell?
  2. How does water get into the celery?
  3. What are the tubes in celery called?
  4. In what direction does air flow? Hint: Think of the balloon example.
  5. What happens to the water after it travels through a plant?
  6. Use answers 1-4 to describe the process of water traveling through a celery stalk.


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3 Responses to “Celery Stalk Water Race”

  1. Excellent question! How might you test your idea?

  2. shanesdeals says:

    Does it matter if the water is hot or cold or will i get the same results?

  3. shanesdeals says:

    Does it matter if the celery stick is in the sun or dark?