Knowledge was “blooming” this week as students investigated the plant world. Students first discussed the importance of plants to humans and animals. As one student said “plants are everything”, and that sums it up pretty well. Students appreciated that plants are food, clothing, shelter, medicine, poison, weapons, tools, art, inspiration, decoration, ornamentation, pigments, perfumes, and the list goes on to near infinity!
Through pictures and with organic samples, students learned characteristic features of plants as they evolved from algae, to mosses, to ferns, to gymnosperms and then into flowering beauties that have special attractive and nourishing features for insects and animals.
We also reviewed photosynthesis, the process by which plants produce sugar and oxygen from carbon dioxide (CO2) with the help of sunlight. While many consider plants as producers at the bottom of the food chain (very animal-centric), it is also interesting to take a plant-centric view and appreciate that plants are the ultimate consumers – as all organic living matter decomposes into CO2 (carbon cycle!), the food nutrient of plants! When we breathe out the CO2 for plants to use, plants are essentially eating us alive! Finally, we discussed pollination and examined how each of the specialized structures of the flower participates in the process of pollination plant reproduction.
We ended our class with a fun flower dissection. During the dissection, students identified the specialized structures of a flower up close and with their hands (our hands are the tool that fueled our brain evolution!) and were able to understand better how the individual parts fit together to form a functional whole (a principle of reverse engineering, to take something apart to figure out how it works or is built). As the flowers were dismantled, students organized the flower parts on paper to keep track of the pieces, and were encouraged to make a neat visual display – a valuable skill in science. As the attached images show, there are very artistically inclined students at Garfield Elementary, and science and art are intimate partners!
Don’t be surprised if your budding scientist asks to dissect the next bouquet of flowers that enters your house!
El “conocimiento floreció” esta semana mientras aprendimos sobre el mundo de las plantas. Los estudiantes aprendieron cómo los científicos clasifican las plantas en diferentes grupos según sus características. Usando una poesía aprendimos varios datos sobre las plantas, como las características de su sistema vascular, o sobre las diferencia entre las gimnospermas y las angiospermas. También aprendimos sobre la fotosíntesis, mediante una demostración de cómo las plantas producen azúcar y oxígeno con la ayuda del sol.
Finalizamos nuestra clase con una divertida disección de un flor. Durante la disección, los estudiantes identificaron las diferentes estructuras de la flor y sus respectivas funciones. Discutimos sobre la polinización y cómo cada una de las estructuras de la flor participa en este proceso.
¡No se sorprenda su hijo o hija le pide permiso para disecar los ramos de flores de su casa!