Learning the parts of a flower can be one of the first science activities for young students. Planting a seed, observing its growth and learning how plants can reproduce will provide students with a first look into biology, environmental sciences and genetics. Students will expand their knowledge of the parts of a plant to include the parts of a flower and increase their understanding of how environmental changes impact flowers.
Parts of the Flower
Flowers have both male and female parts. The pistil is the female part that contains the stigma, style and ovary. The male parts are the stamens. The stamens are made of two parts, the anther and filament. The filament supports the anther and holds it up so the pollen can be spread more easily. The anther makes the pollen required for fertilization. Most flowers do not self pollinate, but require the assistance of insects or wind to spread pollen from one flower to another. The pollen lands on the stigma and travels down the tube to join with the ovule and fertilize the plant.
Pollination of the Flower
Pollination requires wind or the assistance of insects such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds or bats. These pollinators are attracted to the color of the petals on the flowers. As they brush against the anther they carry pollen from one flower to another while they gather their own food. Some pollinators, such as hummingbirds, are attracted to specific colors like red and orange. When environmental factors such as loss of habitat reduce the number of pollinators plants will have more difficulty getting fertilized and may not be able to create seeds for new plants.
How a Seed is Made
Once the pollen has fertilized the ovule it grows into the seed that will eventually create a new plant. The ovary will become the fruit. The seeds are then spread by wind or animal interactions. Animals spread seeds in a variety of ways. Some seeds grab onto fur as the animal passes by and then it falls off later. Other seeds are spread after an animal eats the fruit of the plant. If the flower is not fertilized it does not create seeds for the next generation of that plant.
Flowers are essential to the reproduction of many plants. Students should review a diagram of the parts of a flower. They can then label a new diagram to reinforce their understanding. Include the stigma, petal, ovule, receptacle, filament, anther, sepal and style. Identify what each part does and how the entire system works together to help the plant reproduce. Students can also identify what may prevent a flower from being fertilized.
- Photo by Moyan_Brenn under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr