Kids really get into this particular lesson because they are able to fully observe and dissect a flower, while feeling like a botanist!
Objective: to learn about the anatomy of a flower
Deeper objective: to gain a deeper understanding, appreciation, and respect for nature by learning the anatomical parts of a flower.
1. parts of a flower nomenclature cards (see part I for purchasing options)
2. one or more flowers collected from nature or from a store
4. napkin or placemat
1. Observe your flower specimen(s) in full flower form.
2. With respect to the flower, slowly and deliberately peel the petals away from the flower and place them with the corresponding corolla name card. In this example we used a carnation first. This flower, Punkee found, obviously has a LOT of petals to make up it’s corolla.
Our other specimen is a trumpet vine flower we found at Hunting Island State Park during our morning adventure (we are fortunate enough to live a few minutes away from this gem). Punkee observed that this flower apparently has only ONE petal to make up it’s corolla, and she needed a pair of scissors to neatly cut it open.
3. Find the stamens of the flower and, after observing how they are connected, gently pull them away. Place them onto the corresponding stamen name card.
4. Find the pistil of the flower and, after observing how it’s connected, gently pull it away. Place it onto the corresponding pistil name card. If the pistil (or any of the parts for that matter) are too difficult to remove, then just simply make note where they are in the flower and move on.
5. Find the sepals of the flower. Some do not seem to have them prominently displayed, but if you’ve pulled the corolla and the stamens away then it should be pretty easy to find on most since it’s connected to the stem. If you have a stem with a flower bud, this is a great chance to talk about how the sepal covers the baby flower until it is ready to bloom.
6. When you are finished with your dissection, tell the flower thank you for allowing me to use you to learn more about your beautiful parts! Instead of throwing the pieces in the trash can, you can either compost the parts or give it back to nature (ex. bury it in the yard, sprinkle it over a garden). Punkee felt this Rudbeckia was too beautiful to break into pieces. She also found at her initial whole-flower observation that the stamens and pistil were too difficult and tiny to pull apart. So, she used it as inspiration and peace at her art table…
I’d like to say that this series is complete, but there are so many other lessons and extensions to add to learning the parts of the flower!