Vital Functions of Plants

Vital Functions of Plants: Adapting Vital Functions for Ages 6-9

Traditionally, the Vital Functions have plants have been a complex series of exercises for the child the child of 9-12. The lessons are applicable for the child of 8 or 9, however, and it is important for the child of this age to be “captured” at the moment of concern for living organisms. These lessons are traditionally divided into four sections for the older children:

…Charts 1-10: Vegetative Functions
…Experiments: 1 – 14

…Charts 11-14: Functions of Relationship
…Experiments : 15 -18

…Charts 15-17: Preservation of the species , reproduction
…Experiments 19 – 21

…Charts 18-19: Synthesis

These lessons can be made lighter and more applicable to the 6-9 year old child by dividing the lessons as the classified nomenclature into The Plant, The Root, The Stem, The Leaf, The Flowers and the Seeds. Experiments can be done that give the lessons for the needs of the plant, the functions of the root, the stem, the leaf, flowers and seed.

Adapting Vital Functions for ages 6-9

Materials:
Place the plant stories on the back of the charts. Cut up the experiment cards and have them in a place on the Botany Shelf or near the planting materials. Tell the stories of the charts in your own words. Make the experiments as interesting and exciting as possible. Use other experiments that explain the needs or functions of the parts of the plant.

Use charts and experiments in this order:

The Plant:
Chart 1, Needs of a Plant
Experiment #1, respiration of plants
Chart 2, The Menu of the Plant
Chart 3: From Death to Life: The Nitrogen Cycle

The Root:

Chart : Water Seekers
Experiment 2: Root Hairs
Experiment 3: Formation of Roots
Experiment 4: Acid Reaction of Root Hairs
Experiment 5: Direction of Roots
Chart 4: Boulder in the Way
Chart 5: Give Drink to the Thirsty

The Stem:

Chart 7: The Piston and the Pump
Experiment 6: Ascent of Liquids
Experiment 7: Ascent of Liquids
Experiment 7a: Capillary action
Experiment 8: Transpiration
Chart 8: The plant’s need for the sun: aspiration
Experiment 9: Water is Necessary to the Plant

Leaves:

Experiment 10: Demonstration of Chlorophyll in Green Leaves
Experiment 11: Demonstration: plants need light
Chart 9: The Plant’s Need for the Sun
Experiment 15: Action of lights on plants
Chart 10: The Chemical Laboratory
Experiment 12: Formation of Oxygen
Experiment 13: Making of Starch
Experiment 14: Starch is colored Blue

Relationships in the Plant’s Environment
Experiment 15: Action of lights on Plants
Exp. 16: Action of Heat on Plants
Exp. 17 : Roots grow downwards: the stem?
Exp. 18: Roots are sensitive to water.

Plant movement:

Chart 11: Movement of Seeds: 5 ways to travel
Chart 12: How plants cling
Use nomenclature for aerial stems
Chart 13: Like the Stakes of a Tent

Defense of the Plants:

Chart 14: The Defense of Plants

Reproduction of the Plant (Study of the Flower , Seeds and Spores)

Experiment 19: Plants grown from roots, stems, leaves
Chart 15: Alternate Sexual Reproduction: the fern
Chart 16: Love Among Plants
nomenclature: the Flowers
Chart 17: “Go, My Child”
Nomenclature: Seeds
Experiment: The seed and its parts
Experiment 20: How plants grown from seeds develop and are nourished.
Experiment 21: Monocot- and Dicotyledon Plants

Cosmic Work of Plants:

Chart 18: Like Hands that Hold
Chart 19: Fountain of Cups


The Plant:
THE STUDY OF THE PLANT

Observation of real plant
Nomenclature: The Plant

Chart 1-2

THE NEEDS OF THE PLANT
and The Menu of the Plant

This chart describes the basic needs that all plants have in order to actively participate in life. Plants absorb minerals that are dissolved in water through the roots in the ground. The roots take the minerals and water to all parts of the plant. The leaves of the plant absorb the Carbon Dioxide in the air for the process of photosynthesis, using the sun’s energy. The leaves of the plant also breathe in the oxygen from the air.

Experiment 1

RESPIRATION OF PLANTS

MATERIALS: A large mouthed jar or container that closes well. Mustard or radish seeds, cotton batting, a glass, watering can, a long match, a small plate.

COMMAND: Put a number of seeds in a glass of water for 24 hours. Then place them on a little plate covered with cotton
batting. Put the whole thing in a jar which you have prepared by wetting well. Leave the jar open, keeping the seeds well watered until the plants have germinated but also developed well. Now seal the jar well and put it in a very dark place. After 24 hours, raise the lid just high enough to quickly introduce a lighted match.

What do you observe? Write your observations.


Chart 6

FROM THE DEAD TO THE LIVING, THE NITROGEN CYCLE

Nitrogen is essential to the life of a plant. Nitrogen gas, as it occurs in natural air, is not usable. The plant must first obtain nitrogen in a compound in order for it to obtain its full benefit. Lightning, decomposing matter, the roots of legumes, are three important factors in changing the nitrogen gas into a compound that will benefit the plant.

THE STUDY OF THE ROOT

Observation: Real plant roots
Nomenclature: The parts of the root


Chart 3

HOW ROOTS MOVE IN THE DIRECTION OF THE WATER

Since water is essential to the growth of the plant and its basic survival, roots will seek water out in the soil if it is not immediately.

Experiment 2

ROOT HAIRS

MATERIALS:
A small clay flower pot, some radish seeds, water a drinking glass, two small transparent bowls.

COMMAND: Put some radish seeds in a glass and fill it half way with water. Place the flower pot in one of the bowls which is then filled with water. Place the flower pot in one of these bowls which is then filled with water. After 24 hours, remove both the pot and the seeds from the water. Inver the flower pot and try to make the seeds adhere to the bottom of the pot. Then return the up-side-down pot to the bowl of water so that the seeds are out of the water. Use the other transparent bowl up-side-down as a cover. Keep the whole thing in the light.

Observe what happens every day and write down your observations.


Experiment 3

FORMATION OF ROOTS

MATERIALS: A jar with a rather narrow mouth, water, some twigs from a plant.

COMMAND: Fill the jar with water and immerse the twigs. Observe the plants each day adding water if necessary.

Write your observations.


Experiment 4

ACIDIC REACTION OF ROOT HAIRS

MATERIALS: A jar containing germinated radish seeds, blue litmus
paper.

COMMAND: Put the litmus paper on the sucking hairs of the plant.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


Experiment 5

DIRECTION OF THE ROOTS

MATERIALS: A glass, ink-blotter paper, black construction paper, a rubber band, sand, bean seeds, water.

COMMAND: Cut the ink blotter paper to fit around the inside of the glass. Place the bean seeds between the blotter paper and the sides of the glass making sure they are positioned differently. Then fill the glass with sand and wet the sand. Cut the black construction paper large enough to wrap around the outside of the glass, holding it in place with a rubber band. The sand must be kept wet. Do the same using other seeds. Observe your glass every day.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


Chart 4

ROOTS OVERCOME ANY OBSTACLE

So strong is that need for the water and the minerals, the plant will not allow anything to be an obstacle. Roots will grow around large objects in order to obtain what it basically needs to survive.


Chart 5

GIVE DRINK TO THE THIRSTY

By observing the leaves of a plant above the ground, we can understand the root system. The width of the leaf system corresponds to the root expansion below the ground. If the plant is long and thin, so is its root system, and so forth.


THE STUDY OF THE STEM

Observation of real stems and their types
Nomenclature of the stem


Chart 7

THE PISTON PUMP

Water will naturally go from an area of greater water content, to an area of less water content. It will naturally equalize its own pressure.


Experiment 6

ASCENT OF LIQUIDS IN THE PLANT

MATERIALS: Flower with stem cut during the experiment, glass jar
with a wide mouth, red dye or food coloring.

COMMAND: Fill the jar 3/4ths full of water and color it with a little dye. Then freshly cut the flower and stem from the plant, immediately placing it in the colored water. Then immediately cut the stem again while under the water.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


Experiment 7a

ASCENT OF LIQUIDS IN THE PLANT

MATERIALS: A well developed corn plant or another plant still growing in the ground, a sharp knife.

COMMAND: Cut the stem of the plant.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


Experiment 7b

CAPILLARITY

MATERIALS: 3 glass tubes of different thicknesses, one of which is a capillary tube, a pitcher of water, red dye or food coloring, an eye dropper, a small glass container.

COMMAND: Fill the glass container with water, 3/4ths. full. With an eye dropper, put a drop of red dye in the water and then immerse the three tubes.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


Experiment 8

FORMATION OF WATER VAPOR

MATERIALS: A flower pot containing a plant with many green leaves, a large transparent plastic bag, a piece of ribbon, a watering can and water.

COMMAND: First water the plant in the flower pot. Then cover the green parts of the plant with a bag and tie the bag around the bottom of the stem. Tie it tightly so that on air can enter. Then place the plant in the light but not the sun. Observe the plant after 24 hours and thereafter. Keep the soil well watered.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


Chart 8

THE SUN’S DRINK

The liquids in a plant automatically proceed to the top of the plant. The full plant seeks out the light since the light is what enables the plant to produce nourishment.


Experiment 9

WATER IS NECESSARY TO THE PLANT

MATERIALS: 3 test tubes, water, oil, three small plants, test tube rack.

COMMAND: Put the water and one plant in one test tube. In another test tube put the oil and a plant. In the third test tube put only a plant.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


THE STUDY OF the LEAF
Observation of leaves
Nomenclature of the leaf


Experiment 10

DEMONSTRATION OF CHLOROPHYLL IN GREEN PLANTS

MATERIALS: A mortar and pestle, some green leaves (geranium is best), a glass, alcohol.

COMMAND: Remove some green leaves from the plant and grind them with a mortar and pestle. Place the resulting pulp in glass containing alcohol.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


Experiment 11

DEMONSTRATION THAT PLANTS NEED LIGHT

MATERIALS: 2 small clay flower pots, radish seeds, loose soil, water.

COMMAND: Place the radish seeds in water for 24 hours. Fill the two flower pots with soil. Place the seeds on top of the soil, or better, push them into the soil. Water them. When the plants have germinated and have reached a certain height, leave one flower pot in the light and put the other in a dark closet. Keep the pots where they are and observe and record the behavior of each.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


Chart 9

THE SUN WORSHIPPERS

Plants are attracted to light because through this energy they are able to transform their substance into nourishment. Only with the light will chlorophyll work.


Experiment 15

ACTION OF LIGHT ON PLANTS

MATERIALS: A special box whose lid has a window that opens, radish or other seeds, or preferably, already sprouted shoots; potting soil, watering can and water.

COMMAND: In the bottom part of the box, plant the seeds or shoots in the soil. Keep them well watered. When the plants are several inches high, put the special lid on top of the box with the window closed. Open the window and see what happens.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


Chart 10

THE CHEMICAL LABORATORY

Tubes called xylem carry the water to the leaves on the plant. There, the chlorophyll is activated by the sun to work on the water and the carbon dioxide. A chemical change takes place and a simple sugar is formed. Oxygen is also formed and released into the environment. This is called photosynthesis.


Experiment 12

FORMATION OF OXYGEN

MATERIALS: Some aquatic plants, a large cylindrical glass container, a large funnel, a test tube full of water, water, a long match.

COMMAND: Fill the container almost full of water and immerse the plants in it. Then invert the funnel over the top of the plants and empty the test tube full of water over the inverted funnel. Expose the whole thing to strong sunlight. Then observe it after 2-3 hours and you will see that many tiny bubbles have developed. Now light a long match. When it is burning, blow it out. Take the test tube off quickly and put the glowing match in it.

Observe what happens and write your observations. What are the tiny bubbles formed of?


Experiment 13
MAKING OF STARCH

MATERIALS: A geranium plant in full bloom, two pieces of aluminum foil smaller than the leaves, two pins, ethyl alcohol, warm water, three glasses.

COMMAND: In the afternoon, cover both sides of a leaf with aluminum foil, holding it in place with a pin. The next day, expose the plant to strong sunlight, especially the covered leaf. That afternoon, after several hours of exposure, break off the foil covered leaf from the plant and then remove the foil. Immerse the leaf in alcohol and you will see that it becomes yellow. Now immerse in hot water and leave it there for a while.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


Experiment 14

STARCH IS COLORED BLUE

MATERIALS: A potato, some iodine, a knife.

COMMAND: Cut the potato and then drop a bit of iodine on the cut part.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


RELATIONSHIPS in the PLANT’S ENVIRONMENT

repeat Exp. 15: action of lights on plants

Experiment 16

ACTION OF HEAT ON PLANTS

MATERIALS: 2 small plates, cotton wadding, radish seeds, water, a glass.

COMMAND: Put quite a few radish seeds in a glass with water and leave it for 24 hours. Pour out the water and then take the two plates and cover them with the cotton. Scatter the soaked radish seeds on top of the cotton and water both plates well. Leave one plate in the classroom and put the other in a refrigerator. Keep both well watered. Observe them each day and write up your observations.


Experiment 17

ROOTS ALWAYS GROW DOWNWARDS, AND THE STEM?

MATERIALS: A glass, ink-blotter paper, black construction paper, a rubber band, sand, bean seeds, water.

COMMAND: Cut the ink blotter paper to fit around the inside of the glass. Place the bean seeds between the blotter paper and the sides of the glass making sure they are positioned differently. Then fill the glass with sand and wet sand. Cut the black construction paper large enough to wrap around the outside of the glass, holding it in place with a rubber band. The sand must be kept wet. Do the same using other seeds. Observe your glass every day.

Observe what happens and write your observations.


Experiment 18

ROOTS ARE SENSITIVE TO WATER

MATERIALS: a clear container, wide and straight-sided, radish or bean seeds, soft soil, a watering can and water.

COMMAND: Fill the glass container with the loose soil. Plant the seeds in the soil close to the glass sides and water the soil well where the seeds were sown. After the roots have developed well in depth, begin to water increasingly farther away from the plants.

Observe the container every day and write your observations.


PLANT MOVEMENTS

Chart 11

HOW SEEDS TRAVEL

Seeds travel away from the mother plant in many ways. The wind often moves seeds great distances. Animal carriers also contribute to their relocation. Explosion is another way this mother plant releases the seeds or spores great distances. This enables plants to reproduce their species in other locations than the original environment.


Chart 12

HOW PLANTS ARE SUPPORTED

Some plants do not have a very strong stem, so they develop tendrils which support them by winding around sticks or poles, or the stems of other plants. Other plants which do not have strong stems crawl along the ground.


Chart 13

ROOTS: ANOTHER MEANS OF SUPPORT

This chart shows men holding the plant – anchoring it to the ground, so that when there is a strong wind, the plant is not pulled down.


DEFENSE of PLANTS

Chart 14

HOW PLANTS DEFEND THEMSELVES

Plants also develop special organs to defend themselves. They need to protect themselves from animals – dryness – cold. In order to defend themselves from animals, the leaves and the stem of some plants are transformed into thorns. Then it is not possible for the animals to eat the plant.
Plants which grow in very dry areas transform their leaves and stem into water containers, and they can live without rain for a very long time. For example, a cactus plant.
Plants defend themselves from the cold by developing very thin pointed leaves, like needles, covered with a thick film which protects them from the cold. Plants which are not able to develop leaves like needles lose their leaves during the winter and “hibernate.”


REPRODUCTION of PLANTS

the study of flowers, seeds and fruit
Observation: real flowers, seeds, fruits
Nomenclature of Flower, seeds and fruit.

Experiment 19

PLANTS GROW FROM ROOTS, STEMS, AND LEAVES

MATERIAL: several low glass containers of different shapes, strawberry or violet runners , various kinds of tubers, carrot roots, bulbs, shoots of various plants.

COMMAND: Prepare the different containers by filling them with water first and then as much of the above described material as you have been able to obtain. Whether it is a bulb or shoot, make certain that only the lower part is immersed in the water of the glass container. You may also put this material in soil instead of water.

Observe what happens and write your observations every day.


Chart 15

ALTERNATION OF GENERATIONS

This chart pictures the underside of the fern leaf, and the sporangium which opens and releases spores. The spores fall to the ground and germinate. The heart-shaped leaf, the prothallium, forms. In this little leaf, the male and female organs are formed. The female organs each produce one egg. The male organs produce spermatozoa. The spermatozoa join with the egg to form a new little plant.


Chart 16

LOVE IN PLANTS

Flowers are dressed in beautiful colors and give off a sweet perfume, which attract insects. This perfume draws the insect inside the flower where it sucks the sweet nectar. Pollen adheres to the insect’s hair is carried by the insect to another flower. When the pollen is deposited on the flower, it develops a tail which grows down and fertilizes the egg. The egg is then transformed into a seed.


Chart 17

GO MY CHILD

This chart depicts a mother plant saying farewell to her child, a seed. The mother has provided the child with food to sustain his life until he is able to make his own. Sometimes the seed is covered with a fruit, which is a protection to the little seed, as well as a means to transport it far from the mother plant. The fruit represents the ovary enlarged. It is not useful to germination of a seed. Its purpose is to attract animals who will take the fruit as food, and the seeds will be carried far from the mother plant.
Experiment: The seed and its parts:

Take a bean seed, soak it over night or let it sprout.
Using the nomenclature for the seed , take it apart and look at the seed and its parts.


Experiment 20

HOW PLANTS GROWN FROM SEEDS DEVELOP AND ARE NOURISHED

MATERIAL: several small plates, various kinds of seeds, cotton wadding, several glasses and water.

COMMAND: Select different kinds of seeds and put them in water in the different glasses for 24 hours. Cove the plates with the cotton and then sprinkle the soaked seeds on the different plates. Keep all the plates well watered. Make a note of when they germinate and of how much they have gown each day.

At a certain point, what happens? Why? Write you deductions.


Experiment 21

MONOCOTYLEDON AND DICOTYLEDON PLANTS

MATERIALS: a terrarium with soil, different seeds: bean, wheat, corn; a watering can with sprinkler and water, several glasses.

COMMAND: Soak each variety of seed in a separate glass of water for 24 hours. Then remove them and sow in straight rows in the terrarium., identifying the different seeds by takes with labels. Water them immediately and always keep them moist, remembering that if seeds aren’t kept moist they will die and not germinate.

Observe what happens and make regular notations. The important thing for this experiment is to observe how the plant is formed when it sprouts.


THE COSMIC WORK of PLANTS

Chart 18

ROOTS HOLD THE SOIL

Roots holding the soil is the cosmic work of the roots. Roots are like dikes which hold the earth. The roots form terraces on the hillsides, preventing the erosion of soil. The same work that the roots do is done by farmers when they grow crops on the hillsides, by a method called terracing.


Chart 19

The Fountain of Terraces or Cups

The brown represents the soil and the blue, water. Some water is retained by the roots of a plant, and water filters through, slowed by the network of roots and soil, gradually working its way to streams and rivers. This principle of slowing the descent of water on the mountainside has been used in terraced gardens which work like this fountain of cups.


Description of the Charts
Chart 1-2

THE NEEDS OF THE PLANT
and The Menu of the Plant

This chart describes the basic needs that all plants have in order to actively participate in life. Plants absorb minerals that are dissolved in water through the roots in the ground. The roots take the minerals and water to all parts of the plant. The leaves of the plant absorb the Carbon Dioxide in the air for the process of photosynthesis, using the sun’s energy. The leaves of the plant also breathe in the oxygen from the air.


Chart 3

HOW ROOTS MOVE IN THE DIRECTION OF THE WATER

Since water is essential to the growth of the plant and its basic survival, roots will seek water out in the soil if it is not immediately.


Chart 4
ROOTS OVERCOME ANY OBSTACLE

So strong is that need for the water and the minerals, the plant will not allow anything to be an obstacle. Roots will grow around large objects in order to obtain what it basically needs to survive.


Chart 5

GIVE DRINK TO THE THIRSTY

By observing the leaves of a plant above the ground, we can understand the root system. The width of the leaf system corresponds to the root expansion below the ground. If the plant is long and thin, so is its root system, and so forth.


Chart 6

FROM THE DEAD TO THE LIVING, THE NITROGEN CYCLE

Nitrogen is essential to the life of a plant. Nitrogen gas, as it occurs in natural air, is not usable. The plant must first obtain nitrogen in a compound in order for it to obtain its full benefit. Lightning, decomposing matter, the roots of legumes, are three important factors in changing the nitrogen gas into a compound that will benefit the plant.


Chart 7

THE PISTON PUMP

Water will naturally go from an area of greater water content, to an area of less water content. It will naturally equalize its own pressure.


Chart 8

THE SUN’S DRINK

The liquids in a plant automatically proceed to the top of the plant. The full plant seeks out the light since the light is what enables the plant to produce nourishment.


Chart 9

THE SUN WORSHIPPERS

Plants are attracted to light because through this energy they are able to transform their substance into nourishment. Only with the light will chlorophyll work.


Chart 10

THE CHEMICAL LABORATORY

Tubes called xylem carry the water to the leaves on the plant. There, the chlorophyll is activated by the sun to work on the water and the carbon dioxide. A chemical change takes place and a simple sugar is formed. Oxygen is also formed and released into the environment. This is called photosynthesis.


Chart 11

HOW SEEDS TRAVEL

Seeds travel away from the mother plant in many ways. The wind often moves seeds great distances. Animal carriers also contribute to their relocation. Explosion is another way this mother plant releases the seeds or spores great distances. This enables plants to reproduce their species in other locations than the original environment.


Chart 12

HOW PLANTS ARE SUPPORTED

Some plants do not have a very strong stem, so they develop tendrils which support them by winding around sticks or poles, or the stems of other plants. Other plants which do not have strong stems crawl along the ground.


Chart 13

ROOTS: ANOTHER MEANS OF SUPPORT

This chart shows men holding the plant – anchoring it to the ground, so that when there is a strong wind, the plant is not pulled down.


Chart 14

HOW PLANTS DEFEND THEMSELVES

Plants also develop special organs to defend themselves. They need to protect themselves from animals – dryness – cold. In order to defend themselves from animals, the leaves and the stem of some plants are transformed into thorns. Then it is not possible for the animals to eat the plant.
Plants which grow in very dry areas transform their leaves and stem into water containers, and they can live without rain for a very long time. For example, a cactus plant.
Plants defend themselves from the cold by developing very thin pointed leaves, like needles, covered with a thick film which protects them from the cold. Plants which are not able to develop leaves like needles lose their leaves during the winter and “hibernate.”


Chart 15

ALTERNATION OF GENERATIONS

This chart pictures the underside of the fern leaf, and the sporangium which opens and releases spores. The spores fall to the ground and germinate. The heart-shaped leaf, the prothallium, forms. In this little leaf, the male and female organs are formed. The female organs each produce one egg. The male organs produce spermatozoa. The spermatozoa join with the egg to form a new little plant.

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Chart 16

LOVE IN PLANTS

Flowers are dressed in beautiful colors and give off a sweet perfume, which attract insects. This perfume draws the insect inside the flower where it sucks the sweet nectar. Pollen adheres to the insect’s hair is carried by the insect to another flower. When the pollen is deposited on the flower, it develops a tail which grows down and fertilizes the egg. The egg is then transformed into a seed.


Chart 17

GO MY CHILD

This chart depicts a mother plant saying farewell to her child, a seed. The mother has provided the child with food to sustain his life until he is able to make his own. Sometimes the seed is covered with a fruit, which is a protection to the little seed, as well as a means to transport it far from the mother plant. The fruit represents the ovary enlarged. It is not useful to germination of a seed. Its purpose is to attract animals who will take the fruit as food, and the seeds will be carried far from the mother plant.


Chart 19

The Fountain of Terraces or Cups

The brown represents the soil and the blue, water. Some water is retained by the roots of a plant, and water filters through, slowed by the network of roots and soil, gradually working its way to streams and rivers. This principle of slowing the descent of water on the mountainside has been used in terraced gardens which work like this fountain of cups.

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