Function of Roots: Lesson for Kids

Function of Roots: Lesson for Kids
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  • 0:03 An Underground Surprise
  • 0:43 What Is a Root System?
  • 1:22 Types of Root Systems
  • 2:08 Parts of a Root
  • 2:51 Roots Above the Ground
  • 3:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Debra Patuto

Debra has taught at elementary levels and has an M.ed with certification in elementary education and special education

Although they are mostly hidden underground, roots are an essential part of a plant. In this lesson, you'll learn all about plant roots and just what makes them so important.

An Underground Surprise

Have you ever heard the saying 'April showers bring May flowers?' Spring is often the time when you see new plant life poking up from underground after a long winter. The stem starts to grow, and before you know it, flowers bloom.

But, what if you decided to pick one of those flowers to give to someone special? You might find a group of messy roots dangling down below the stem. At first glance, these roots may look like a tangled mess, but they are actually a very important part of the plant. Let's take a closer look at these roots and learn about what they do.

What Is a Root System?

Inside your own body, you have organs that you need to survive, such as your heart, lungs, and kidneys to name a few. Inside a plant, the root system is considered an organ. A plant needs its roots in order to survive.

The root system of a plant is typically found underground and has many different jobs. One of the main jobs of the root system is to anchor and support the plant in the soil. Other main jobs are absorbing the water, oxygen, and other nutrients from the soil and then transporting these things to the stem.

Types of Root Systems

There are two different types of root systems, and both have the same functions:

  • A tap root system is a system of roots that goes down deep into the ground and can be found in flowers, plants, and trees. If you picked a flower for someone special, it was most likely a tap root system attached below the stem. A main root, called the tap root, grows downward. Smaller roots then grow out horizontally from the tap root and eventually turn downward into the soil.

  • A fibrous root system can be found in plants such as grasses, lilies, and palm trees. The roots grow outward and downward directly from the stem.

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