Parts of Plants
Time will stand still for children as they explore the beautiful intricacies of plants. Kids love discovering the secrets of the plant world by immersing themselves in nature and getting their hands dirty. Investigating the different parts of a plant provides a wonderful hands-on approach to learning which kids embrace. There are endless opportunities for sensory play and creativity.
This topic focuses on four main parts of a plant. The main objective at this early age is for the kids to be able to identify the different parts of a plant. If they can describe a little about the function of a particular plant part then that is a bonus! The reproductive parts of the flower has been left out as that is a topic that will be explored when the kids are a little older. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t introduce that now! Go for it if you wish!
- Flowers: (REPRODUCTION) Flowers are necessary for reproduction. They produce pollen. They are bright coloured and have a smell that attracts insects.
- Leaves: (NUTRITION) They play an important role in photosynthesis, which describes the process of chlorophyll and sunlight changing carbon dioxide and water into food.
- Stem: (SUPPORT AND TRANSPORTATION) It supports the plant and transports water and minerals in the soil to the rest of the plant.
- Roots: (ANCHORING AND NUTRTION) They soak up water and minerals in the soil and anchor the plant in the ground.
Introduce this topic by looking at pictures of different plants or even better, venture outdoors and study the flora. Look at trees, flowers, grasses, vegetable plants and shrubs. What have all the plants got in common? Gather a range of plants or use pictures to show the kids the different parts of the plants. Discuss the functions of each part as a class. Plenty of discussion and identifying the plant parts at the start will be beneficial because sometime kids can become quite confused as plant species vary greatly and it can be difficult for kids to recognise certain parts. A stem of a tree (truck) is very different from a stem of a pumpkin plant! Create a class display showcasing the range of flora. Ask the kids to bring in pot plants from home or cut flowers. Use stickers to label each part. Have plenty of wall posters showing the different parts of a plant.
Hands on fun (ideas for play/experiments)
Frozen Flowers (pictured): This is great sensory play! Fill up little plastic containers with plenty of cut flowers and cover with water. Freeze and pop the iced flowers out. Great to put in the water station area and kids can use different ways to melt the ice and extract the flowers. A very pretty activity!
Sorting Parts of a Flower: Provide a range of flowers in a cutting tray. Children use scissors to separate flowers into stems, petals and leaves. Sort each flower part into named containers. Kids love deconstructing and sorting! Flowers are bright and pretty and smell good too! A party for the five senses!
Grow a Bean in an old CD Cover: Place soil and into CD cover, plant the bean at the bottom, water it and watch it germinate and grow. Label each part of the bean plant on the cover with a vivid pen or paint pen! A very cool perspective of a growing plant in action! (Appendix 1)
Crazy Coloured Flowers: Place carnations or roses into jars of coloured water. Watch the flowers change to the colour of the water! The magic of capillary action! Do the same with cabbage leaves! Put a face on the cabbage leave using toothpicks and blueberry eyes and red peppers for the mouth! Kids love watching dramatic changes! It’s magic! Use crazy colours!
Look out for ‘The Living World’. The up-coming science book from New Shoots Publishing.
Try this easy hold magnifier, to help children pick up the smallest details on their flowers.