- Flowers, possibly of several different species for cross-species comparisons. Almost any flower may be used although the anatomy is more easily distinguished in some flowers than others. Some common flowers with clearly differentiated parts include:Sarracenia flower dissection: Image courtexy of Noah Elhardt
- Wisconsin fast plant
- Paper plates/plastic trays
- Scissors or razor blade (to open the ovary)
- Hand lens
- Optional: tweezers
- Optional: dissecting scope
The best resource that I have found for flower dissections is Gertrude Battaly’s website. There you will find comprehensive background information, step-by-step dissection directions, discussion questions and more. I recommend using her handout for the clarity of the directions. The handout I have provided includes only a summary table and conclusion questions.
To learn more about flower anatomy, see the following websites:
- The Wikipedia article on flowers has great scientific information about the anatomy and evolution of flowers.
- Michele Kilmartin of Shenendehowa High School has good diagrams and photos of a daffodil dissection.
- Texas Tech University’s Plant and Soil Sciences Department provides some excellent labeled photographs of flower dissections.
- For good simple line drawings, see the Web Institute For Teachers, sponsored by the University of Chicago.
In addition to Gertrude Battaly’s site, other good lesson plans include:
- A great cartoon-style interactive flower dissection can be found at BBC Kids. Some of the terminology differs between what is used on the BBC site and what is typically used in American classrooms.
- San Diego State University has posted great lesson plans for a flower dissection followed by a fruit dissection. Solid scientific background information is found throughout the lesson plan.
- Kids gardening provides a lesson plan appropriate for younger students.
Structure and Function in Living Systems
5. The anatomy and physiology of plants and animals illustrate the complementary nature of structure and function. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know plants and animals have levels of organization for structure and function, including cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, and the whole organism.
b. Students know organ systems function because of the contributions of individual organs, tissues, and cells. The failure of any part can affect the entire system.
f. Students know the structures and processes by which flowering plants generate pollen, ovules, seeds, and fruit.