Grow Plant Ovaries for Dissection
Need a sexual reproduction in plants activity? You could always dissect flowers (and you should)… but don’t stop there! Take it to the next level – grow and dissect seed pods!
It’s one thing to show students the structures that help plants reproduce, but the biggest piece of the puzzle in missing if you leave out the result – SEEDS! This informal activity helps kids to see not just the specialized reproduction structures in a flower, but also the result of fertilization.
It’s really easy! I use daffodils from my yard, so it’s free, too. (If you teach in a rural area, ask students to bring in flowers from their own yard to try.)
It’s a Simple Process…
You start by simply pollinating a bouquet of daffodils using a Q-tip. Just touch the Q-tip to the anthers, get a chunky bit of yellow pollen on it, then wipe it on the end of the stigma in the center. It’s really that easy.
Keep the bouquet watered even though the flower petals will turn gross and die. In a few weeks, you’ll notice the ovaries growing quite plump. When they reach the size of a quarter (or a tad smaller), it’s time to dissect! (To test if a daffodil is ready, open one. If the seeds are brown – they’re ready. If the seeds are white – wait a bit longer.)
Pro tip: Be sure to leave a note for the janitor that the spent bouquet is not trash! My wonderful janitorial staff has thrown away the rotting flower bouquets more than once!
More Plant Reproduction Resources
Covering plant reproduction? Need a paper-based activity for sexual reproduction in plants? We offer a great resource on Asexual and Sexual Plant Reproduction! Kids love our Design a Flower Activity, too.