One of the activities that we did last week for our botany block was to dissect a flower and find all its parts. We looked at some of those parts under the microscope. As it was spring here in North Florida, we took a little walk around our yard and picked some flowers. Most of the flowers we picked were from our azalea and camellia plants. Nice large flowers are best to do this activity with. In the past, I have used lilies from the grocery. Though we looked at both flowers, we used the azalea to dissect.
We have several different books that we are using for the botany block. You can find a list of the ones we used, as well as the games and supplies that we used, on my Amazon Favorites. We used I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast, as the book has a nice illustration of a cross-section of a flower.
There are many different ways to dissect a flower. We began by carefully removing the petals. We placed them at the top of our blank page and labeled them ‘petals.’ From here we first found the male reproductive parts, and then followed with the female reproductive parts.
Finding the stamen, we took a pair of forceps and removed each of them, placing them below the petals. We labeled them ‘stamen’ and then took an individual stamen to a label it’s parts, the anther and the filament. As we worked through our dissection, we would take an anther from both flowers and place it under the scope. Below is a picture of the stamen from the azalea (pink) and camellia (yellow.)
Once the stamens were removed, we discussed the female structure. At this point, my daughter and I did these differently. She began by removing all the sepals around the base of the piston. From here she cut a cross-section of the ovary. I left the sepal intact, but cut a cross-section of the ovary. We placed our cross-sections, and in her case the sepals, on the page and labeled each of the parts including the stigma, style, ovary, sepal, peduncle, and receptacle. We then removed the stigma from another plant and placed it under the microscope to observe.
Although this is a simple activity, it provides a way to review the anatomy of a flower and discuss what each part in the reproductive process. We will use a collage-type art project, inspired by Josie from On Willow’s Bend, to use the information that we learned in this activity for a main lesson page.
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