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Flowery Science

17 Aug

We’ve been studying bees and Colony Collapse Disorder, so when I saw these flowers, my first thought wasn’t,

“Wouldn’t they look pretty on the table,”

it was,

“Wouldn’t it be great to dissect these flowers and learn more about pollination and the parts of a flower!”

That’s just how a homeschooler’s brain works.  🙂

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So I forked over $7 of good book-purchasing-money for flowers (that should be in a garden,) but, instead, were going to give their lives in the name of Science.

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First we watched a Bill Nye show on flowers.

Sorry Bill but my kids have lost confidence in you, since they heard your less than flattering views on God and those who know He’s the Creator.

They groaned all the way through.

I must say, the episode jumped around way too much, only flicking snippets of info here and there, and didn’t do anything for our understanding of flowers.

So we found another video that properly walked us through the parts of a flower and their roles, and from there we knew enough to start dissecting our flowers.

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We didn’t use any particular procedure for our dissection.  We just gathered some scissors, tweezers and magnifying glasses and followed our interests.

First the boys looked at the pollen on the anthers.  That’s what drew their interest first.

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See that orangey stuff.  That’s pollen.  The anther is the top of the male organ, the stamen. (Think ‘staMEN is male’)

Some of the pollen has fallen off onto the petal as well.

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Next, the boys tried their hand at artificially pollinating the flower, by moving the pollen from the anther to the stigma, the top of the female organ, the carpal (or is that the pistil?  We had to do a bit of extra research to find out the difference between the carpal and the pistil.  Yes, there is a difference.)

Imagine having to artificially pollinate all of the flowers on a tree.  (Remember that flowers come before seeds, which are enclosed in (or on) the fruits that we like to eat.)

That’s what a world without bees would be like.  It’s already a reality in some parts of China.

Those little bees are vitally important to our continued existence.  Ever thought about that?  We hadn’t, until we started learning more about bee and CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder).

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From the stigma, the pollen would release the sperm, which would travel down the style to the ovary and into the ovules to fertilise the eggs.

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These are the little ovules, which contain eggs, which we dug out of the ovary.

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Next, the boys decided to cut off a flower bud and compare the immature parts of a flower to their dissected mature flower.

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They found this more fascinating than dissecting the flower!

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It was very cool.  Knowing the parts of a flower, you can easily identify the parts within the flower bud.

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Yes, I also dissected a flower.  I’m a learner as well!

Plus, if I have ‘work’ to do, then I can’t interfere in the boys’ work, by letting the ‘trained teacher’ in me escape and mess up their learning.  🙂

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Once we’d explored the flowers as much as we wanted, we pulled out the watercolour pencils (Brayden wanted to use textas) and drew a picture of our flower, labeling all of its parts.

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I’ve seen interactive online dissection activities (technology is all the rage nowadays) and worksheets where we could label a flower (which people love for their time saving qualities), but nothing beat a hands on experience that you’ve poured your heart and soul into.

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I doubt we’ll ever forget the parts of a flowers and their role in creating our food and the beauty around us.

Definitely $7 well spent!

🙂

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4 Comments

Posted by on August 17, 2014 in Science

 

4 responses to “Flowery Science

  1. Petra

    August 17, 2014 at 3:37 am

    That’s fabulous Tracey 🙂 At first I was like “oh no, torturing a beautiful flower” but then I was like “oh, great science lesson” 😀

     
  2. Sarah

    August 17, 2014 at 4:03 am

    We’re also doing bees and CCD in a week’s time, so it looks like I’m going to be copying you again and getting some flowers to dissect 🙂 I just bought the More Than Honey DVD

     
    • Tracey

      August 17, 2014 at 4:31 am

      It’s a fascinating topic. I’ve never given bees much of a thought before. Now I’m pondering pesticide use (we don’t use any and the birds and bugs love our yard but what about the food we buy). We bought our first organic vegetables this week, because of the bees, and are starting to wonder about genetically modified food. I think that’s where our thoughts will head next.

      The boys have asked to look at different kinds of flowers and how they differ. I’m curious too, so we might need another $7 bunch of flowers.

      Another good bee documentary is “Vanishing of the Bee”.

       
  3. melonvine

    August 17, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Brilliant!

     

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