Thursday, March 22, 2012

Botany for K-1st (everyone really!)

I am linking this post with Homeschool Science Share and Tell 

Today, in the nature class I teach at our homeschool co-op, we explored the basic parts of a flower.* We also examined how water travels up the tubes in the stem and visibly into the petals!** We used white carnations. They are such pretty flowers and perfect for study. 
Last night my kindergartner and I placed about 20 drops of green food coloring into a glass jar. We put a stem of four carnations in the colored water. About four hours later, I checked on them and noticed there wasn't much of a change. 
(before cutting the individual stems shorter and adding additional coloring)

So, I cut the stems shorter and added about a teaspoon more of food coloring. Within an hour we saw slight coloring of the petals! 
(results after seven hours)

This morning we printed and cut out  "Parts of a Flower Flap" from Homeschool Share. (Look under Printables for the "Part's of a Flower Flap".) It was a perfect learning activity for our dissection. I added a simplified definition for each which I share in the sentence below.
We used our magnifying glasses to look closely at the four main parts of a flower: the petals (attract pollinators), the stamen (makes pollen), the pistil (uses the pollen to make seeds) and the sepals (protect the flower before it blooms).
We peeled back the sepals (dark green leaf-like structure) and a few petals to uncover the stamens-the long tubes with a fuzzy(ish) top.
In the center you can see a light green bulb shaped object-that's part of the pistil where the seeds will develop if pollinated.
Here is a close up of the stamens on the right and the pistil on the left.
We didn't delve into the specific parts of the stamen (filament and anthers) or pistil (stigma, style, and the ovary which houses the ovules) in our class.
Here is a magnified picture of the inside of the pistil (technically the ovary and you can see the individual ovules)-where the seeds/fruit will develop if pollinated.


*My research for basic parts of a flower came from The Usborne First Complete Book of Nature and various online Google searches to dig a little deeper.

**Mudpies to Magnets: A Preschool Science Curriculum- I remembered coloring petals years ago with our first child and tried doing the experiment from memory.  I double checked the book for this post and it states to cut all but six inches off the stem at an angle and use 10 drops of coloring to 1/4 c of water. Mudpies to Magnets is a fabulous science resource for little ones!


  1. You know - we did the carnation thing last year, but never dissected the flower. I need to do this with the kids.

    I KNOW Nature Detectives is an awesome class, Hope!

    1. Thank you, Mary! Send the kids over next week and we'll have science lab while you unpack!

  2. I never get tired to the carnation experiment. The kids are amazed every time! Last year was our first time dissecting flowers. I actually went to a florist and asked for a few old flowers for a school project and he gave me an entire bag of different kinds. Comparing all the different flowers was an awesome activity.

    1. Marci, What a great idea! I'm so glad the florist was so giving to you guys. What a great experience, being able to compare many different kinds!

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