All About Plant Parts

Great Plant Escape Challenge: After this unit's reading and videos, can you solve it? Use this link to read more after you learn about each plant part.

Plant Roots

Look at the plant roots in the pictures below.  They may look different, but roots are important to plants in the same ways.

Plant roots grow down into the soil.  They hold plants tightly in the ground.  Roots take water and minerals from the soil.  Minerals are natural, nonliving materials that can be found in soil.  Plants need water and minerals to live and grow.

To learn more about the importance of soil and to solve a soil mystery click here.

Roots can also store sugars and carbohydrates that the plant uses to carry out other functions. Plants can have either a taproot system (such as carrots) or a fibrous root system (such as turf grass). In both cases, the roots are what carries the water and nutrients needed for plants to grow.  Which type of root do you see in each picture?

Plant Stems

Most plants have stems.  The stem of the plant is kind of like the skeleton of an animal. Stems hold up the leaves, flowers, ad fruit of a plant.  Most stems, such as the thick woody stem of a tree grow straight up from the ground.  Some stems, such as the thin stem of a vine, grow along the ground.  Vines can also grow up and over objects. Stems allow the plant to get to sunlight so the leaves can make food for the plant.

You know that plant roots take water and minerals from the soil.  Plant stems have tiny tubes that carry the water and minerals from the roots to the rest of the plant.  Here's a picture of the inside of a stem as view from a microscope.  Stems also carry sugars made in plant leaves to the rest of the plant.  Challenge!! Read this and find out the scientific terms for the plant cells.

Plant Leaves

Think of the different plant leaves you have seen.  Some are wide and flat.  Others are long and slender.  Still other leaves look like needles.  Green plants use energy from the sun to make food in their leaves.  The food the leaves make is a kind of sugar. Plants make food through a process of photosynthesis. Look at the following pictures that describe photosynthesis.  Take notes in your notetaker.  Then watch the video in EDpuzzle.  

The leaves of a green plant make most of the sugars the plant needs to live and grow. Many plants store the sugars in their roots, stems, and leaves. The stored sugars are used by the plant during times when the leaves cannot make enough sugars for the plant to live.   

Plant Flowers

Seeds grow inside flowers.  The picture below shows that a petal is an outside part of a flower. These good smelling, colorful petals are what attracts pollinators, but more on that later. Seeds are formed inside the center of the flower.  Notice where pollen, a fine, yellowish powder, is made.  It sits on top of a part called the anther which is a part of the stamen. Pollen must first be moved to the tip of the stemlike part, called the pistil, then down to the center of the flower, before seeds can begin to form.

As mentioned before, the color and the smell of a flower attract insects, bats and birds to the flower.  They carry pollen from flower to flower.  When pollinators rub against pollen from the plant, some pollen sticks to their bodies.[see pictures below]  When they move to a second flower, some of the pollen might fall off and stick to the center part of the flower (stigma of the pistil).  If this happens the flower is now pollinated.

Watch the video below for how bees help pollinate.  Make sure you take notes:)

Now that pollen has been moved to the center of the flower, seeds can begin to grow.  As the seed grow, the center of the flower swells to form a fruit around the seeds.  A fruit is the part of the plant where the seed are.  Apples, peaches, peppers, and tomatoes are examples of fruits.  The fruit protects the seeds inside.  As the fruit grows, the flower petals dry up and fall off because they did their job. When the fruit gets ripe and falls off the plant, the new seeds can make more plants.

Other Resources

Do you feel you're ready?  Here's your final assignment.  Choose one of the following:

The above are just examples or tutorials.  Remember create your own project, be creative, and have fun!  Below are the checklist and rubric for this project.