We love Science! We have been celebrating a very special Science week in our bilingual Science lessons. We have been creating simple experiments following the scientific method. Year 5 have been investigating about capillary action in plants.

Question: The aim of the investigation is to find out how water moves from the roots to the leaves of plants.

Materials: Some water, 2 glasses of water, a teaspoon, some tissue paper, some food colouring, a ball pen and this worksheet.

Hypothesis: What do we think? Some of us think it’s because roots absorbe water, because roots are like sponges, other pupils don’t know and some of us think it’s because of magic.

Method: Pour water into one of the glasses. Add some food colouring to the water in the glass. Stir with a teaspoon until the colouring has fully dissolved in the water. Leave the other glass empty. Twist the tissue paper and put one end in the glass filled with water and the other end in the empty glass. Wait for a while and see what happens.

Capillary action in plants experiment with paper towel

Record: We record our observations and see how water climbs up the tissue paper.


  • Capillary action occurs because water is sticky.
  • Capillary action causes the water to “climb” up the tissue paper.
  • Capillary action causes the water to “climb” up the plant stem.
  • Capillary action is important for moving water around.
  • Capillary action is very useful: we use a paper towel when you spill a glass of water to wipe it out.
  • Plants and trees live thanks to capillary action.

Have you ever heard someone say, “That plant is thirsty,” or “Give that plant a drink of water.”? We know that all plants need water to survive, even cut flowers and plants living in deserts. Watch this video:

Capillary action time lapse physics in nature

And here we are while doing the experiment!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.