A plant is a living thing that captures and uses the sun’s energy to make its food. Plants are the first link in a food chain. Animals and people depend on plants. The study of plants is called botany. Scientists who study plants are called botanists. Botanists divide the 350,000 kinds of plants into two groups: plants with roots, stems and leaves (such as trees, bushes, ferns, grasses and flowers) and plants without roots, stems or leaves (like moss and algae). Most plants begin life as seeds. Seeds have everything they need to reproduce into a plant, but they cannot grow if they are covered in fruit. Seeds are carried by people, animals, water and the wind. When seeds are planted or land on land, they have to have enough water, good soil and sunlight to grow.
When seeds begin to grow, they extend roots below ground and shoots above. Shoots can grow buds, leaves, stems, flowers, fruits and vegetables. Plants can be annuals (one growing season only), perennials (many growing seasons) and biennials (two growing seasons). Through photosynthesis, plants convert energy from the sun into sugars, breath in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. The pigment that makes a plant green, chlorophyll, is responsible for converting sunlight into useable chemical energy.
Leaves of a plant take in sun and water as needed through their cells. Plants clean the air we breathe, feed us, clothe us, help define our climate zones and shape the environments in which we live. Plants are an integral part of our healthy earth.
Activity 1 You and a Beanstalk!
Find a container, some potting soil, bean seeds and organize a sunny, warm place to place your planted seeds. Keep the seeds moist and in a sunny windowsill. In a few days your bean seeds should sprout. Record their daily progress. When the seeds are three inches tall or more turn their pot around. See what happens the next day. Do your beans act like a solar collector and follow the sun? That’s plant power! Plants have hormones that cause the cells closet to the light to grow more quickly. This is called phototropism.
Let’s get started growing!
Activity 2 Diagram a Plant
Using the links on the explore page of this journey, draw a plant. Take a look at leaf and flower terminology and draw several examples of different types of leaves and flower parts. Diagram and label your pictures of plant parts, leaf parts and flower parts. Once you can name the parts of a plant, look at how plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. This process is called Photosynthesis. Make a diagram that shows (and labels) the steps of photosynthesis.
Be a botanist!!!
Activity 3 Plant Cells Let Light and Moisture In!
Explore Label the Cells.When you think you know the names of the parts of a plant cell, draw a cross section. A plant cell has a cell wall so it is called a eukaryotic cell. Label the main parts and list their function: nucleus, nucleolus, coaxial centrosome, centriole, golgi, lysosome, peroxisome, secretary vesicle, cell membrane, mitochondrian, vacuole, cell wall, chloroplast, smooth endoplasmic reticulum, rough endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, and cytoskeleton. Become a cell analyst!
Let the light in!
Activity 4 Plants are Used For Many Things!
Walk around your home or school. Find at least five different plant types. Look at the plants' foliage, flowers, fruit, and stems. Look at the plants' habits; see how tall or wide it is. Does it grow in groups or individually? FInd out the names of your five plants. Now make a list of as many plant products as possible. Think of things you eat, wear and use and make a chart in your journal to see which plant type is used the most.
What plants do you wear?
Wheat is one of the most important food crops in the world.
Some plants do not have roots or stems.
Fruits and vegetables are different parts of a plant.
If the climate in a region changes, the plant types will still remain the same.
Chlorophyll is responsible for:
- Simple Story of Photosynthesis and Food Video
- Plant Parts
- Plant structure
- Plant Parts Quiz
- Plant Structure and Function
- Plants and Our Environment
- Interactive Plant Cell
- Plant Cell Lab
- Plant Cell Coloring
- Niki Simpson Digital Botanical Illustration
- ArtPlantae:Connecting Naturalists, Artists and Educators
- Light and Color in Photosynthesis
- Photosynthesis and Fossil Fuels
- La Mannahatta
- Ecoregions of the World
- Native Plant Database
- USDA Plant Database
- Fall Leaf Color
- Georgia O'Keefe Museum: Natural and Still Life Forms
- Monet’s Water Lilies
- Living Walls/Vertical Garden
- Amazing Wheat!
- Wheat Council
- Chelsea Physic Garden
- Plant Nutrition Games
- Invasive Plants
- Flower and Leaf Terminology by Artist Linda Vorobik
- 4-H Children’s Garden Website, Michigan State University
- The Glass Flower Collection Harvard Natural History Museum
- Stephanie Nava Consider a Plot Exhibit
- Smithsonian Catalogue of Botanical Illustration
- Art Plantae Today
- 4H Children's Garden, Michigan State University
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- Natural Light
- Tree Identification
- Vegetable gardens
- Green Roofs
- Art Nouveau
- Growing food
- Solar Energy
- Rain Gardens
- Pocket Parks
- Coral Reefs
- Outdoor Classrooms
- Site Analysis
- Site Programming
- Aqua Culture
- Vertical Farming