Since we talk about and see flowers starting to grow this time of year as a sign of spring and discuss the saying “April showers bring May flowers”, I like to do hands-on flower explorations with students as well as teach them the parts of a flower.
Dissecting a Flower to Learn its Parts & Their Functions
I like to do activities that help students transfer what we are learning to the real world, therefore when introducing the parts of a flower I use an actual flower and let the students closely examine each part.
I bring in a flower that I have dug up from the ground so it has its roots. I introduce and explain each part of the flower and their functions using our word wall cards as a reference.
I keep the explanations simple so my young ones can understand.
Stem: The stem carries the water and food (nutrients and minerals) to the rest of the flower. It travels up the stem to the other parts of the flower.
Flower: The flowers are the part that are responsible for making food.
Leaf: The leaves are attached to the stem and help catch sunlight and air for the flower. The leaves have little holes that let out the water that the plant is done using. This makes room for more water to come rushing up through the stem. .
Roots: The roots grow in the ground and pull in the water and nutrients to the flower. They also help keep the flower stable.
Petal: The petals attract insects towards the plant to pollinate them.
I then have the students assist in labeling the parts of the flower.
To check individual comprehension, I upload a photo of the flower (without the label cards) to Pic Collage and set this simple page with the parts of a flower word bank as the background. Students use the text tool to label the parts of the flower using the word bank for assistance.
The next activity is dissecting the flower into its parts. As I cut apart the flower, the students tell me the part and its function. Then, I place the parts in a sorting tray in a center with magnifying glasses. Students visit the center and are able to closely observe, touch, and smell the different parts.
After students have observed the different parts of the flower, they use the label cards to label each section. I hold them accountable by having them take a photo and upload it to their Seesaw journals. Once in Seesaw, they record what they learned about the parts of a flower so I can check their understanding and know if we have to review anything.
The Parts of a Flower Craftivities
I love incorporating crafts into our learning! This craft allows students to create each part of the flower.
To make the flower we paint a paper plate. I let students choose between using washable paint or Dot Painters.
While the plates are drying, students color or paint soil for the roots along the bottom of a piece of blue paper and either paint a stem and leaves or cut out a stem and leaves from green construction paper.
After the paper plate flowers are dry, students cut petals by cutting from the outside edge in to the inner circle in increments around the plate. Then they fold them up to resemble petals.
When doing this with older students I have them cut “Vs” around the plate to create more pronounced flower petals.
Next, students glue the flower onto the blue paper. Then they glue on small pieces of white yarn in the soil for roots.
I then have students use the labeling cards to show me the parts of their flowers.
When running short on time (which happens when doing crafts lol), I have students take photos of their flowers, upload it to their Seesaw journals and use the label tool to label the parts of their flower.
Parts of a Flower Puzzle Activity
This is a fun activity that students always love! I cut out the parts of a flower from construction paper, place them in a center along with labeling cards. Students have to put the flower puzzle together and label its parts.
Technology has allowed me to hold students accountable by having them upload a photo of their completed puzzles to their Seesaw journals and then record what they know about each part of the flower.
How Flowers Drink Experiment
I like doing this experiment every year because it shows students how plants get water from their roots all the way up to their leaves and flower.
I have tried various white flowers over the years, but find that carnations seem to work the best. Here is how I do the experiment:
Cut the stems of the carnations at an angle about 3-4 inches from the bottom. Florists often advise to cut flowers under running water so that no air bubbles get in to break the stem tubes of water and cause wilting. It’s important that the stem tubes always be filled with water so if you are not starting the experiment right away put the flower stems in plain water or wrap them in a wet paper towel.
Fill each container (water bottles work great!) about half way with water and drop 10-20 drops of food coloring in each bottle. Place the flowers in the water.
We observe the flowers at the end of the school day and can see a little bit of color around the outer edges. However, we really notice color the next morning and even more after 48 hours. The students can’t wait to check them each day!
After observing the flowers for several days we discuss the results. I introduce some bigger vocabulary to them when we talk about the science behind the experiment, but I basically just want them to understand that the water travels up the stem to the leaves and all parts of the flower. Here is a simple explanation:
The Science Behind It:
This experiment demonstrates how plants use capillary action to draw water up their stems. Capillary action is the process in which a liquid, like water, moves up something solid, like the tubes (xylem) in the stem. The leaves and petals help pull the water up the xylem through transpiration. The leaves and petals have little holes that let out the water that the plant is done using. This makes room for more water to come rushing up through the stem.
I have students record their observations by coloring the carnations on their recording page (I created pages with the carnations already drawn to make it easier for my young students). Then they write what they learned along the bottom.
After getting iPads, students were able to take actual photos of the results and upload them to Pic Collage. I love how this teaches them to use technology as a tool to record results, observations, and conclusions!
Flower Play Dough Activities
Another favorite activity of students during our flower unit is getting to play with flower scented play dough. It is simple to make, just add a few drops of flower scented oil such as lavender (which is a calming scent), lilac, rose, etc. to your favorite play dough recipe along with a few drops of food coloring to color it like a flower.
Students can press the flower parts from the dissecting a flower activity into the play dough, use green play dough and white yarn to make the parts of a flower, or use it for math practice.
Parts of a Flower Activity Pages
I also use these activity pages to help students learn the parts of a flower and assess their understanding.