Activity

Flower and apple dissection

Summary
Dissect a flower to find the parts (stamen and pistil) and discuss pollination, fertilization, how seeds form. Cut open an apple to find the seeds.
Science content
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)
Biology: Life Cycles (2)
Lessons activity is in
Materials
  • Flower with easy to find and identifiable stamen and pistil e.g. rhododendron, lily. Bluebell used when also used in a parallel activity
  • Magnifier
  • Apple and knife to cut open
Procedure

Students pull apart a flower and look for these parts:
1. anther. the pollen is on the anther. the anther is part of the stamen (made up of the filament stalk supporting the anther)
2. stigma. pollen lands on the (often) wide, sticky stigma. the stigma is part of the pistil (made up of the stigma at the top, style (the stalk) and ovary (inside the flower).

Look at an apple, inside and out, to show these parts:
1. dried remains of the stigma and style at one end of the apple
2. ovary case inside, containing the seeds. the apple flesh is the swollen ovary.

Discuss the process of fertilization and maturation:
pollen from the anther of one flower is transferred to the stigma of another flower (by insects or wind)
DNA from the pollen grain travels down the style to the ovary, where it meets the egg, and fertilization happens
a seed grows in the ovary
the seed can make a whole new plant

Discuss fruit formation:
After fertilization, the ovary around the seeds swells to make the fruit. (see photo of new fruit forming)
This fruit is attractive to animals, that eat it and transport the seeds elsewhere to make new plants.

Notes

With McBride students, we were at Van Dusen, and collected fallen rhododendron and honeysuckle flowers from the witchhazel bed.

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Teaching site
Gordon Elementary Science Club
McBride Elementary
Oppenheimer Elementary
Van Dusen Botanical Garden