Plant Biology Activities for High School

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Studying the biology of plants can be important for students in understanding the processes and structures responsible for plant reproduction and growth. Use these multi-sensory activities to help students explore the plant biology.

Structures and Processes

Students eat them in their salads, give them to loved ones for different occasions, and decorate one at Christmas; however, most students probably don't stop and think about plant biology. When students learn about plant biology, they can understand the specifically designed structures and processes that allow plants to be an important part of Earth's ecosystems. Let's look at some activities to help students learn about plant biology.

Plant Parts Dissection

Have students dissect a flowering plant to identify the parts of a plant.

Materials

  • Diagrams of plant/flower parts
  • Flowers (lily, tulips, or daffodils are recommended)
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors or scalpel
  • Glue
  • Poster board
  • Markers

Teacher Directions

  • Show students diagrams of plant/flower parts. Discuss the purpose of various plant/flower parts. Consider including flower/plant parts such as:
    • Stem
    • Sepal
    • Anther
    • Pistil
    • Stamen
    • Leaves
    • Roots (if attached)
    • Xylem
    • Ovary/ovule
  • Divide the class into small groups, and provide each group with a flower, tweezers, scissors/scalpel, glue, poster board, and markers.
  • Have students dissect their flowering plant using the materials provided.
    • Students could use their scissors/scalpel to remove each plant/flower part.
    • Students will use glue to attach each plant/flower part to the poster board.
    • For each plant/flower part on the poster board, students will write a short description about its purpose inside the plant/flower.
  • When students are finished, have them share the results of their dissections with the class.

Discussion Questions

  • What parts were the most difficult to find and dissect from the plant?
  • How are the parts of the plant/flower similar to different body parts in humans?

Life Cycle of a Plant

Students will examine the inside of a seed and create skits to show the life cycle of a plant.

Materials

  • Diagram of a plant's life cycle
  • Lima bean seeds
  • Paper towels
  • Hand lenses

Teacher Directions

  • Show students a diagram of a plant's life cycle. Review information about plant reproduction such as:
    • Plant parts involved in reproduction
    • Pollination and methods of pollination
    • Seed parts (embryo, seed coat, endosperm)
  • Divide students into pairs and have them dissect a lima bean to examine the parts of the seed.
    • Give students a few lima beans that have been soaked in water, and have students place them on a paper towel.
    • Have students remove the seed coat from the beans with their fingers.
    • Students should pull the bean apart into two halves.
    • Have them locate the embryo and endosperm in each bean with a hand len.
  • Divide the students into small groups.
  • Have each group create a skit about the life cycle of plants.
    • Students should think about how to incorporate vocabulary from the lesson into the skit, such as the parts of seed, reproductive parts of a flower, or methods of pollination.
    • Students should consider how they will use actions, dialogue, and/or a narrator to cover the entire life cycle of plant, including pollination, seed germination, and growth of the plant.
  • When students are finished, have them present their skits to the class.

Discussion Questions

  • How are the parts of the plant especially made to facilitate pollination and reproduction? What might happen if pollination was disrupted due to an environmental or human threat, such as the decline in the bee population?
  • What parts of the seed allow it to still grow without access to sunlight below the ground?

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