Parts of a Plant – Stems

Investigation Overview:

Plants need food and water to survive and grow. Xylem tubes which begin in the roots and go through the stem transport water throughout the plant. Phloem tubes also begin in the roots and go through the stem.

Phloem tubes transport food. (This experiment will take preparation on day 1 and then on approximately day 3 the observations can take place.)

Objective:

Students will observe the function of plant stems in transporting food and water in plants.

Materials:

SmartMicroScope 5M digital microscope with gooseneck stand
Hand lenses for each group
1 single sided razor blade Adult use only
1 stalk of celery per group (preferably with leaves still on)
1 bottle of food coloring (red or blue)
Water
1 plastic cup per group
3 paper towels per group
1 sheet of lined paper and pencil per student
1 Resource Sheet 1

Note: Images in this post were taken with the SmartMicroScope 5M and SmartMicroScope 5M-500

Preparation:

Day 1:
Teacher will cut bottom of celery stalks about an inch from the bottom with the razor blade. Students will put water in paper cups and add 5-8 drops of food coloring.
Students will insert celery into cups.
Day 3 or 4:
Set up the SmartMicroScope with gooseneck stand on a flat surface.

Engagement:

Ask, “What part of the plant is the stem?”
Ask, “What do you think the stem does?”
Ask, “What plant stems do we eat?”
• Celery
• Rhubarb
“We’ll take a closer look to learn more.”

Exploration:

  1. Students will get their celery in its cup.
  2. Students will observe with the naked eye the celery stem and make written observations.
  3. Students will remove the celery from the cup (tell them to dry it off with paper towels) and observe
    the bottom end of the stem and make written observations.
  4. Students will observe the bottom of the stem with the hand lenses and make written observations.
  5. Students will observe the bottom of the stem with the SmartMicroScope and make written observations.

Explanation:

The stem of the plant transports food and water through tubes to the rest of the plant. You can trace the flow of the water through the celery because of the food coloring.
The tubes that carry water are called Xylem tubes. Since we had our celery in water those are the ones we see. The tubes that carry food are called Phloem tubes. In this experiment we cannot see those.


Both the Xylem and Phloem tubes begin in the roots.
Plant stems can be thick or thin. The stem of a tree is the trunk.

Expansion:

Split a stem of celery into two or three parts. Submerge each of the cut ends into a container with
different colored water.

Evaluation:

  • Students will know that food and water are transported to the plant through tubes in the plant stem and they start in the roots.
  • Students will know that the tubes transporting water are called the Xylem tubes.
  • Students will know that the tubes transporting food to the plant are the Phloem tubes.
  • Students will know plant stems can be thin or thick.
  • Students will know the stem of a tree is its trunk.
  • Students will draw the end of a Xylem tube in celery under magnification.
  • Students will know that Xylem tubes run through plant leaves and flowers.
  • Students will give one example of plan stems humans eat.
  • Students will identify one use for plant stems other than food.
  • Students will know plant stems are like veins in the human body.
  1. Draw a picture of the end of the celery viewed with the naked eye.
  2. Draw a picture of the end of the celery view with 200x magnification on the SmartMicroScope.
  3. The Xylem tubes transport water throughout the plant. ___T ___F
  4. Phloem tubes transport food throughout the plant. ___T ___F
  5. The __________ is the stem of a tree.
  6. Plant stems can be thin or thick. ___T ___F
  7. We get wood from the stem of trees. ___T ___F
  8. The Xylem tubes run through a plant’s leaves. ___T ___F
  9. Xylem and Phloem tubes start in the plant’s _______ (flower/roots).
  10. What part of your body is like the Xylem and Phloem tubes?

This and many other investigations are available in our online learning portal. Check it out.

Alignment to State Science Education Standards

TEKS: Standards: Chapter 112, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science, Subchapter A: Elementary. §112.16: Grade 5 1A: Demonstrate safe practices and the use of safety equipment as described in Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards during classroom and outdoor investigations using safety equipment, including safety goggles or chemical splash goggles, as appropriate, and gloves, as appropriate; 2C: Collect and record information using detailed observations and accurate measuring; 2D: Analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct (observable) and indirect (inferred) evidence; 2F: Communicate valid conclusions in both written and verbal forms; 4A: Collect and analyze information using tools including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, prisms, mirrors, balances, spring scales, graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, timing devices, magnets, collecting nets, notebooks and materials to support observations of habitats or organisms such as terrariums and aquariums; 9A: Observe the way organisms live and survive in their ecosystem by interacting with the living and nonliving components; 10A: Compare the structures and functions of different species that help them live and survive in a specific environment such as hooves on prairie animals or webbed feet in aquatic animals.

NGSS: Standards: K-LS1-1; 4-LS1-1
Kindergarten:
K-LS1-1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive. [Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include that animals need to take in food but plants do not; the different kinds of food needed by different types of animals; the requirement of plants to have light; and, that all living things need water.]
4th Grade:
4-LS1-1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. [Clarification Statement: Examples of structures could include thorns, stems, roots, colored petals, heart, stomach, lung, brain, and skin.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to macroscopic structures within plant and animal systems.]

Florida: Standards: SC.3.L.14.1; SC.1.L.14.2
1st Grade: SC.1.L.14.2 Identify the major parts of plants, including stem, roots, leaves, and flowers.
3rd Grade: SC.3.L.14.1 Describe structures in plants and their roles in food production, support, water and nutrient transport, and reproduction.

Virginia: Standards: 1.4; K.7; 3.1; 4.1; 5.1; 6.1
Kindergarten:
K.7 The student will investigate and understand basic needs and life processes of plants and animals. Key concepts include
a) animals need adequate food, water, shelter, air, and space to survive;
b) plants need nutrients, water, air, light, and a place to grow to survive;
c) plants and animals change as they grow, have varied life cycles, and eventually die; and
d) offspring of plants and animals are similar but not identical to their parents or to one another.
1st Grade:
1.4 The student will investigate and understand that plants have basic life needs and functional parts and can be classified according to certain characteristics. Key concepts include
a) plants need nutrients, air, water, light, and a place to grow;
b) basic parts of plants; and
c) plants can be classified based on a variety of characteristics.
3rd Grade:
3.1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, logic, and the nature of science by planning and conducting investigations in which
a) observations are made and are repeated to ensure accuracy;
b) predictions are formulated using a variety of sources of information;
c) objects with similar characteristics or properties are classified into at least two sets and two subsets;
d) natural events are sequenced chronologically;
e) length, volume, mass, and temperature are estimated and measured in metric and standard English units using proper tools and techniques;
f) time is measured to the nearest minute using proper tools and techniques;
g) questions are developed to formulate hypotheses;
h) data are gathered, charted, graphed, and analyzed;
i) unexpected or unusual quantitative data are recognized;
j) inferences are made and conclusions are drawn;
k) data are communicated;
l) models are designed and built; and
m) current applications are used to reinforce science concepts.
4th Grade:
4.1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, logic, and the nature of science by planning and conducting investigations in which
a) distinctions are made among observations, conclusions, inferences, and predictions;
b) objects or events are classified and arranged according to characteristics or properties;
c) appropriate instruments are selected and used to measure length, mass, volume, and temperature in metric units;
d) appropriate instruments are selected and used to measure elapsed time;
e) predictions and inferences are made, and conclusions are drawn based on data from a variety of sources;
f) independent and dependent variables are identified;
g) constants in an experimental situation are identified;
h) hypotheses are developed as cause and effect relationships;
i) data are collected, recorded, analyzed, and displayed using bar and basic line graphs;
j) numerical data that are contradictory or unusual in experimental results are recognized;
k) data are communicated with simple graphs, pictures, written statements, and numbers;
l) models are constructed to clarify explanations, demonstrate relationships, and solve needs; and
m) current applications are used to reinforce science concepts.
5th Grade:
5.1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, logic, and the nature of science by planning and conducting investigations in which
a) items such as rocks, minerals, and organisms are identified using various classification keys;
b) estimates are made and accurate measurements of length, mass, volume, and temperature are made in metric units using proper tools;
c) estimates are made and accurate measurements of elapsed time are made using proper tools;
d) hypotheses are formed from testable questions;
e) independent and dependent variables are identified;
f) constants in an experimental situation are identified;
g) data are collected, recorded, analyzed, and communicated using proper graphical representations and metric measurements;
h) predictions are made using patterns from data collected, and simple graphical data are generated;
i) inferences are made and conclusions are drawn;
j) models are constructed to clarify explanations, demonstrate relationships, and solve needs; and
k) current applications are used to reinforce science concepts.
6th Grade:
6.1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, logic, and the nature of science by planning and conducting investigations in which
a) observations are made involving fine discrimination between similar objects and organisms;
b) precise and approximate measurements are recorded;
c) scale models are used to estimate distance, volume, and quantity;
d) hypotheses are stated in ways that identify the independent and dependent variables;
e) a method is devised to test the validity of predictions and inferences;
f) one variable is manipulated over time, using many repeated trials;
g) data are collected, recorded, analyzed, and reported using metric measurements and tools;
h) data are analyzed and communicated through graphical representation;
i) models and simulations are designed and used to illustrate and explain phenomena and systems; and
j) current applications are used to reinforce science concepts.

David Walling

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