Using the Flower Power! Video in Your Classroom

Consider using some of the ideas below to incorporate the Science 360: Flower Power! video into your classroom.

Elementary School

  • Use this video in science class when teaching students about plants or the diversity of life.
  • Before watching the video, teach the key vocabulary to your students. Since many of these vocabulary words are terms for parts of a flower, one option for teaching the vocabulary may be to complete a hands-on activity where students observe, draw, and label real flower specimens. Another option for teaching the vocabulary might be to use a graphic organizer like this one to help students visualize the words and their definitions.
  • Before watching the video, complete a brainstorming activity with the whole class. Create a chart on the board that lists “Flowering Plants” on one side and “Uses for Flowering Plants” on the other. Have students list any flowering plants they already know of, and all of the uses they can think of for flowering plants. After watching the video, return to this list and have students add to it based on what they learned from watching the video.
  • Consider setting up a class garden of flowering plants. This may be done indoors or outside, depending on the time of year and space availability. Pick plants that have large, showy flowers (like irises or lilies), or flowering plants that produce edible fruits or vegetables, such as beans, peppers, or tomatoes. This could be timed such that your plants are flowering or producing fruit when you view the video, or you may choose to start the garden during the plant unit so that students can observe the processes of germination and growth.
  • After viewing the Flower Power! video, consider assigning one of the following extension activities:
    • Have students create an imaginary flower. Based on what they saw in the video and learned in class, what type of animal might pollinate their flower?
    • Provide students with a simple field guide that shows pictures of common flowering plants in your area along with information about how the plants are pollinated (you can create your own guide, or find one online - the Pollinator Partnership website is a good place to start). Have students use the field guides to participate in a nature walk to find, identify, and draw flowering plants around their school or homes.

 

Middle School

  • Use this video in science class when teaching students about plant biology or adaptations.
  • Before watching the video, teach the key vocabulary to your students. Since many of these vocabulary words are terms for parts of a flower, one option for teaching the vocabulary may be to complete a flower dissection like this one where students observe and identify various flower structures. Another option for teaching the vocabulary might be to use a graphic organizer like this one to have students develop their own definitions for the vocabulary through encounters with the words in context.
  • Before watching the video, ask students to respond to the following question in groups: “What flowering plants are you familiar with, and how are these plants used?” After the groups have had time to discuss the question, have one group member report out to the whole class. Compile student responses on the board. After watching the video, have students refine their responses based on what they learned in the video.
  • Bring in a varied sample of flowers (at least enough for each pair of students in your classroom to have one). These can be flowers from your own garden, wildflowers from the community where you live, donated flowers from a florist, or a combination of all three. After watching the video, hand out the Plant-Pollinator Pairs worksheet and have students work with a partner to draw a flower and identify its most likely pollinator based on evidence from the chart. Student pairs can exchange flowers with other groups until all students have observed a variety of flower types.
  • Consider having students complete a long-term plant lab like this one where they grow a flowering plant from seed to maturity. As part of this lab, students can investigate how variables such as light, temperature, and gravity affect plant germination and growth. When plants flower and/or produce fruit, students will be able to complete observational labs to analyze the flower or fruit anatomy.
  • After viewing Flower Power!, consider assigning one of the following extension activities:
    • Have students create and draw an imaginary plant-pollinator pair and describe in words why the pollinator fits with their flower (similar to lesson three at this site). Alternatively, assign each student a real animal pollinator and have them design and name the perfect flower for that organism.
    • Have students create a poster or presentation focusing on the many uses of flowering plants.
    • Have students research strange or exceptional flowering plants and create a poster, pamphlet, or presentation about them. Some examples of exceptional flowering plants include:
      • Rafflesia arnoldii: Three feet across and 15 pounds, this is the largest flower in the world.
      • Titan arum: Known as the “corpse flower” for its incredibly putrid, rotten-meat smell.
      • Aristolochia: Also called “Dutchman’s Pipe,” these stinky flowers trap gnats for days, feeding them small rations of nectar to keep them alive until the plant releases its pollen and the gnats are allowed to escape.
      • Stapelia gigantea: This giant starflower is covered in white hair-like structures and also traps insects for days.
      • Phoradendron: Commonly known as mistletoe, the Phoradendron is a parasitic plant that sucks nutrition from trees.
      • Pleuricospora fimbriolata: A flowering plant that looks like a fungus, lacks chlorophyll, and is completely white.
      • Wolffia: A member of the duckweed family that has both the smallest flowers and the smallest fruits of any flowering plant.
    • For a creative writing tie-in, have students write a short story, poem, or comic strip from the point of view of a flower going through its life cycle (including reproduction), or from the point of view of a pollinator.

 

High School

  • Use this video in a biology course when discussing plant science or diversity and adaptations.
  • Most high school students will have at least some previous exposure to the key vocabulary terms. However, many of the specific parts of the flower may be unfamiliar to them or forgotten. Consider reviewing the vocabulary before viewing Flower Power, either through an observational lab activity (such as the one on this site) where students get to see the flower parts, or through the use of a graphic organizer or a news article where students could see the words in context.
  • Before watching the video, discuss as a class the many uses of flowering plants. Assess students’ familiarity with the mechanisms of plant reproduction, including pollination, fertilization, and germination. This may be done through class discussion, small group or paired discussion, or a Knowledge Ranking Scale.
  • For lower-level or younger high school students, consider using the Plant-Pollinator Pairs worksheet as described above in the middle school section. This activity may be modified for higher-level students to focus more on the co-evolution of plants and their pollinators.
  • For higher-level or older high school students, consider conducting a genetics experiment in the classroom using a fast-growing plant species such as Arabidopsis, duckweed, or Wisconsin FastPlants. Teacher support resources and ideas for planning, organizing, and conducting such experiments are available at the Planting Science website.
  • After viewing Flower Power!, consider assigning one of the following extension activities:
    • Assign students case studies involving realistic examples of co-evolution in plant-pollinator partnerships. For example, the Yucca Plant and the Yucca Moth are closely related because the moths lay their eggs in the flower of the plant where they are protected. Because the moths travel between flowers looking for a place to lay their eggs, the moths serve as pollinators for the flower – so the relationship between the plant and the animal is mutually beneficial. Imagine that in the area surrounding Los Angeles, pollution begins to kill off the Yucca Moths. A certain species of butterfly that is resistant to the pollution starts growing in numbers. How might the Yucca plant begin to evolve to attract this potential new pollinator?
    • Have students research a particular flowering plant and its usefulness to humans. For example, the root of the purple aster is used in herbal medicine to treat coughs. Students can create visual displays, posters, or pamphlets about their flower. Students could also research exceptional flowers, such as the Rafflesia arnoldii (at 3 feet across and 15 pounds, the largest flower in the world) or the Titan arum or “corpse flower,” so named for its putrid smell. For more exceptional flowers, see the middle school section.

 

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