This lesson provides a visual example for young people of what happens to a living thing (in this case a plant) when it is hydrated with water vs. liquids with added ingredients such as sweeteners, flavors and colors.
Every living thing needs water to survive. Nearly every system in your body depends on water to work right, including our organs, muscles, joints, and nervous system.
Ask the youth, what would happen to plants, animals and babies if they were given beverages that have lots of sugar and other ingredients in them?
Answers: Sick, tired, wouldn’t grow right, might die
The same is true of bigger kids and adults: If we depend on flavored drinks for our liquids, our bodies won’t grow right, we won’t feel well and we might get sick.
Ask: What do you think might happen to our bodies if we stopped drinking mostly water or milk and drank mostly pops, fruit drinks and sports/energy drinks? (Same answers as for babies/animals/plants.)
Explain that you are going to do a classroom experiment involving water and growing. Present the three plants. Explain that you are going to care for the three plants in three different ways:
Create (or have young people create) labels so you can keep track of the plants.
Explain that when doing a scientific experiment like this one it’s important to keep notes about your findings because otherwise when it’s over you might not remember the details.
Give each person a copy of the “Plant-Water Experiment Notes” worksheet. Ask the youth to complete the first row by jotting down notes about the color of the leaves, the texture of the plant, and other details. You can also do this activity with the interactive whiteboard template (see What You Need) and keep track of it as a class.
Ask the youth to take notes every day for several weeks to track what happens to the three plants over time. Younger kids can simply describe what they are seeing.
When doing this activity with younger children ask them to describe what they are seeing and you write the notes.
Consider taking regular photographs of the plants in order to visually track the change over time.
Even if the results of this experiment aren’t dramatic, there will be differences the young people can discover if they pay close attention. Encourage them to think about this the next time they are choosing how to “water” (hydrate) their own bodies.
Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish, so that families can continue discussing the importance of hydrating with water at home.