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Dissecting a Flower to Teach Structure and Function NGSS4-LS1=1 and NGSS 4-LS1-2

Dissecting a Flower to Teach Structure and Function

I decided to write a blog post on how to dissect a flower.  Students can learn a lot about the structure and function of different parts of the flower by dissecting one. They can also learn about pollination and pollinators. Dissecting a flower is a great investigation.

parts of a flower structure and function
Materials: 

Florists will often donate browning or old flowers, which work fine.  Be sure to tell them you are a teacher!  You can supplement these by purchasing a few new specimens that clearly show the structure of the flower. The best flower types to dissect include lilies, tulips, daffodils, and gladiolus. I used a lily in my example. You need a flower for each group of students.
Flower Dissection Activity
If daylilies are plentiful near you, it is possible to get someone to donate a flower for each student.  Daylilies have all the parts we are looking for and the bloom prolifically.

Background Information: Plants have male and female parts.  (Teachers just ignore the giggles from the kids.  Speak matter of factly about the fact that all living things reproduce and with plants are living things, so they reproduce). 
 
Some plants have exclusively male parts.  Some flowers have exclusively female parts. More commonly, plants have both male and female parts.  Plants do not move so they need help moving pollen from male parts to female parts.  Even flowers that have both male and female parts need to cross-pollinate with other plants in order to flourish.
Cross-pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male reproductive organ (an anther) of one plant to the female reproductive organ (a stigma) of another plant. Insects and wind are the main agents of crosspollination.
Flower dissection
1. Have the students find the sepals. (Sepals are the first or outermost tissue you encounter on the stem at the base of the flower. )They protect the flower bud before it opens and support the flower later. They are often the same color as the petals.
Flower dissection
2. Have students identify the petals.
3. have the students locate the stamen and the pistil. 
Have them first look closely at the stamen.  It is made up of two parts: The filament and the anther.  The anther has the pollen.   Your students may notice that their flower has more male parts than female parts.  Ask why?  The function of the stamen is to produce pollen.  The more stamens in a flower the more likely an insect will bump against it will gather nectar and will carry some pollen to another flower.
stigma, style
5. Now look closely at the pistil.  It is also made up of two parts: the style and the stigma.  Touch the top of the stigma.  Does it feel sticky?  What would be the function of this stickiness?  This stickiness helps the pollen being scattered to stick.  
 
6. Have students carefully break open the ovary with a fingernail and look closely for seeds with a magnifying glass.
Sometimes there are no seeds which probably means the plant has not been pollinated.
flower parts
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If you have any buds they can also be sliced open. 
flower dissection
I would also have students record their results on a lab page. 
flower dissection worksheet
 
This lesson goes nicely with many standards, but I have included it in my 4th Grade Life Science Unit in my TPT Store Structure and Function.   It is also available here on teachingscience.us This unit comes with slide shows, a nonfiction article, response pages, lab pages, interactive notebook folds, and answer keys. 4th Grade Life Science Unit
structure and function fourth grade
structure and function fourth grade
 
 
This resource addresses these NGSS Standards: 
4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
4-LS1-2. Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.
 
I was especially happy to have come up with a lesson to go with NGSS 4-LS1-2., which I think is an especially difficult standard to address, but I have addressed in full in the above unit. 
Other ideas for fourth grade NGSS and Utah SEEd 

Honey Bees Reading Passages and Comprehension Questions

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Start Here

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!

 
Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit

Tina S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:05:39-06:00

Tina S

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!   Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit
The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!

 
Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2

Richard S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:07:52-06:00

Richard S

The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!   Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2
As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.

 
Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

Sharon M

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:24:44-06:00

Sharon M

As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.   Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4
Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.

 
Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning

Expedition Fourth

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:44:55-07:00

Expedition Fourth

Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.   Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning
My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.

 
Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

Heidi J

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:45:49-07:00

Heidi J

My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.   Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer
5
3
Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams