Dissecting the Plant Parts


Abstract Biology Background Botany Botanical

Dissecting the Plant Parts

Students will identify the parts and needs of a plant.


45 Minutes



Collection Group




  • S1L1a. Students will identify the basic needs of a plant: air, water, light, nutrients.
  • S1L1c. Students will identify the parts of a plant: root, stem, leaf, and flower.


  • Potted plant for dissecting with roots, stem, and leaves (1 per small group)
  • Tray (1 per small group)
  • Magnifying glass (at least 1 per small group)
  • Plant Dissection lab sheet (1 per small group)


  1. Review with students what plants need to grow (sunlight, air, water, nutrients).
  2. Explain to students that they will be dissecting the plant (like a doctor) to look for clues about how the plant parts help the plants get what they need to be healthy.
  3. Provide each small group of students with a potted plant, a tray, some magnifying glasses, and a Plant Dissection lab sheet for their dissections. In their small groups, students should look closely at each plant part, write their observations, and consider how each plant part helps the plant get what it needs.An example may look like:What is the plant part? – Leaves
    What do you see?
    • Surface to collect sunlight and air
    • Tiny pipelines or veins leading to a big one in the middle
    How does it help the plant get what it needs? (sunlight, air, water, nutrients)
    • Collects sunlight and air
    • Moves plant food back and forth

    What is the plant part? – Stem
    What do you see?
    • Straight pipelines 
    • Strong beam
    How does it help the plant get what it needs? (sunlight, air, water, nutrients)
    • Moves plant food back and forth
    • Holds the plant up towards the sun and airWhat is the plant part? – Roots
    What do you see?
    • Lots of little hairs 
    • Little pipelines leading to a big one in the middle
    How does it help the plant get what it needs? (sunlight, air, water, nutrients)
    • Holds the plant in the ground
    • Collects the water and the nutrients
  4. Findings from each small group can be shared with the class to compare and contrast ideas.
  5. To test their ideas, the class could conduct an experiment attempting to grow four similar plants each missing one of the plant parts: one with the leaves cut off, one with the stem broken, one with the roots cut off, one left with all of the plant parts.

Recommended Resources



Children’s Literature

  • In the Garden with Dr. Carver by Susan Grigsby

Explorations in this Collection

Writing Plant Prescriptions

Writing Plant Prescriptions

Dissecting the Plant Parts

Dissecting the Plant Parts