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Thread: Need Some Help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast

    Need Some Help!

    Hi, everyone!

    I have been asked to give a demonstration/presentation to a Girl Scout group at Bellingrath Gardens. This is a Master Gardener activity.

    The presentation will be on 'Dissecting a Plant'.... I need ideas! I can't tell you how excited I am about getting back to Master Gardener activities. They are a wonderful volunteer group, and I have missed it.

    Still.... I need some ideas!

    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Central Indiana Zone 5a
    Blog Entries

    I don't think I have ever dissected a plant! Earthworms, frogs, sure, but not any plants~

    What exactly do you want to show? Will microscopes be used for viewing the various cellular tissues of stem, leaf, petiole? How about blooms? Are you wanting to do a "peal" to show the different layers and types of cells and where color pigment is in a particular flower? Will this be a complete flower or either a male or a female flower? What ya got blooming right now that falls into both classes? Jurassic plants or modern day plants?

    Are you planning on using actual plants or line drawings? If actual plants, will they be succulents, tropical (which tend to be a little on the succulent side, or just "regular" plants, like dandelions?

    I know, I know, lot of help I am!

    Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
    - R. Buckminster Fuller

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Ann, using the word dissect brings up the old days in Biology where we cut things apart, etc. I am not sure that is the only interpretation of the word. Perhaps the idea of taking it apart would be appropriate here

    What about putting a bean seed in wet cotton or paper towel each day in a timely fashion in the days ahead of the presentation. Then you could show the progression of a plant from seed to plant. You could also have a hyacinth bean in a pot--hopefully with a flower as well as a fruit on it. I don't know whether you could find a fully dried bean in pod at this time of the year. There are some trees around here that still have some pods on them from last fall, and that could stand in for the dried bean in pod.

    Onions or tulip bulbs cut in half could illustrate bulbs and their growth. A potatoe with growing eyes, possibly a plant in a pot. An iris with rhizome. A small bit about dirt and it's components for the purpose of supporting said plant. You could go on about how some trees send a root to China and others spread their roots around. You get the idea.

    If this thing is tomorrow, you are in deep do-do and have my sympathies. It is still early for me, and I'm not firing on all burners yet.

    Hopefully helpful,
    SE PA, zone 6b

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    There are two meanings of the word dissect:
    1. To cut apart or separate (tissue), especially for anatomical study.
    2. To examine, analyze, or criticize in minute detail.

    Most of the pieces and parts of a plant can be seen without cutting it apart. It’s much easier to demonstrate the working relationship of the different sections if they remain in tact. I guess the exceptions would be in the flower, or seed.

    Are you the only presenter, or are you part of a series of presentations?

    To start with, assuming these folks are trying to work off another badge, you could just start with most any plant and cover things from root hairs, stems, leaves, blooms, etc. and how each contributes to the plants life cycle, and ultimate production of new plants.

    In your Alabama Master Gardeners Handbook there is a brief presentation on Plant Physiology along with the inter workings of each plant part. If you do not have this section, I will scan it and send it to you, if you think that will help. There is also a schematic diagram titled “Nature’s Miracle” on page 32 of the section on Soil Testing that may help you identify how the various processes fit together to benefit the whole plant. Using these two sections it should be fairly easy to come up with an elementary presentation suitable for teenagers.

    If you get too technical, you will lose them at the start. A discussion of how the plant takes up water and food, uses it and expels it will be much more interesting than an in depth description of Photosynthesis within the Green leaf. But it may interest them to understand that plants consume Carbon dioxide, and give off oxygen.
    Tom W
    Aching Back Farm

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