The desert is a hostile setting for plants. Arid conditions trigger an array of adaptations, such as the extensive root systems of cacti, which maximize the ability of desert plants to suck up and retain precious groundwater.
To demonstrate this quality to our young saguaro specialists, we talked about the root systems of cacti. We talked about how they are like straws that suck water up out of the sand.
Using cactus shaped sponge, we practiced soaking water up out of ramekins. Students love the cause and effect of the water absorbing and then releasing from the sponges.