Preparing to Get Hands-on in the Science Lab with Spring Flowers and Middle Schoolers

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It is that time of the year again – flowers are starting to appear! Okay, it really is dependent upon which USDA Growing Zone you are in as some of you are expecting snow later this week while others are enjoying bulbs starting to sprout while others already have daffodils to grace their table. One thing is for certain, though, eventually we all will have flowers of some sort to grace out tables within the next few months…if you planted them, but that is another topic for another day. Today we are talking about middle schoolers and science.

One of our science books is The Storybook of Science. It is set as a discussion between an uncle and his nieces and nephews. The story layout of the book makes it easy to introduce topics and see how they may be connected without feeling bored to death. Last week we talked about poisonous plants and this week blooms. As the family lives in England there are some things which I need to clarify with my kids as we read though most transition between fairly easily.

Being that we follow a Charlotte Mason approach to schooling worksheets are not a main part of our school day. They are present in various aspects, yes, but not my main go-to for learning. Today while reading the chapter on various parts of a flower I could tell my kids were understanding the words but not the actual idea – time for supplemental information, I see a science lab in our near future. A quick search online led me to a few worksheets and a lesson plan which included a time lapse video. Combining these items with a few lilies from the grocery store the lesson should have a more connected feel and the kids will be set to examine and compare various flowers as they begin to bloom this Spring.

  • If you are looking for a pre-written lesson with a guide The Beauty of A Flower – Structure and Function at may be the place for you to visit. Written for 7th graders it is still appropriate for kids who are a bit younger or older. (Currently we have a 5th and a 6th graders.) While I will use a fair amount of the ideas and suggestions here to further clarify the topic I will also tweak a few of the items, such as the group discussions and questions.
  • Once the kids have seen what the parts look like on an actual flower then this worksheet from the BLM will be a great way to further expand on various parts as well as introduce the drawing of a different flower. Likely I will have them read through the descriptions and fill out the drawing using the descriptions.
  • has an interactive lesson on Parts of the Flower. The description here is a bit different than the other sites which goes to show that sometimes something can be called more than one thing. It also goes into a deeper discussion of what happens inside the plant when pollination happens. At the end the kids can fill in missing words and the site will “grade” them as well as tell you how long it took them to fill out the sheet.
  • Arizona State University’s Ask A Biologist site has a black and white Flower Anatomy Activity where the various parts are numbers and you are asked to fill in the name. Page two has the answers if you find yourself needing a bit of help or you can give it to the kids to cut and paste. This would be a good review. I am thinking of using it as a guide for labeling the parts of a flower in their nature journals as suggested in the Beauty of a Flower lesson plan linked above.

Now that I am set with a plan to further present the information the only thing left to do is print a few pages and provide a few flowers. Sounds like a good reason to pick up a bouquet at the store tomorrow morning…we are still waiting on more flowers to bloom in the garden.