|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Hi, Maria, All of the experiments related to the extraction of medicianl substances from plants that I could think of (or find infomation about) were not so harmless. However, here are a few closely related ideas that I think will work: 1. Make sun tea. Take a few tea bags, place them in a clear glass container, add water (a gallon, more or less, depending on the number of tea bags that you use), seal the container and leave it in the sun for a few hours. The sunlight warms the water and extracts the tea. If you use caffeine-free tea, let the children drink their extract. 2. Separate the pigmanets in a leaf. This experiment requires significant adult supervision and is actually more of a demonstartion than hands-on experience for the children. That said, I have doen this experiment for fourth graders and they really liked it! It works best if you have highly colored leaves (e.g., fall leaves). Please see the following web page at the MadSci site for a description of how to perform the experiment. htt p://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/apr2000/956352742.Gb.r.html 3 Soak rose petals in water for a few days to make fragrant rose water. You can speed this up by simmering the mixture on the stove. Alternatively, it seems to me that you could speed-up the extraction by leaving the mixture in the sun, as described above for preparing sun tea. Discard the petals and let the children smell the rose water. You could prepare extracts from petals from different types of roses and let the children decide which one they think smells best. Links to a few MadSci answers to questions about the use of plants as sources for medicines. htt p://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/mar2000/952135951.Bt.r.html htt p://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/mar2001/984268954.Ch.r.html Finally, here is a link to a web page that describes several medicinal plants: http://www.ran.or g/info_center/factsheets/05f.html I hope that your teaching goes well. I think that getting children involved in science is a fantastic endeavor.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Medicine.