Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about the parts of a plant. It is designed to complement the Parts of a Plant topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

In this movie, you’ll learn that plants exist in different shapes, sizes, and colors, but most share similar structures. It is important for your child to understand the basic structures of a plant and their functions.

The root is the part of the plant that grows into the ground. The root not only anchors the plant into the soil, but it also absorbs water and minerals. Root systems can be bigger than the plant they support, though they tend to grow in length and not width due to their search for water, and roots often develop tiny hairs that help to maximize the absorption of nutrients.

The stem transports water and nutrients to the rest of the plant and also holds up the plant so it can receive as much sunlight as possible. There are two types of plant stems: herbaceous and woody. Flexible herbaceous plant stems, like those of tulips or chrysanthemums, die back to their roots every winter, and re-grow every spring. Woody stems, like the trunk of an oak tree, are less flexible and do not die back to the ground every year.

The leaves are the parts of the plant that are responsible for both converting sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into food through photosynthesis and respiration. Flowers are structures responsible for producing seeds. Pollination, the transfer of pollen grains from a flower’s anther to the stigma of the same or another flower, is necessary for plant reproduction. After flowers are pollinated, the flower turns into a fruit. The skin and flesh of the fruit protects the seeds inside. After the fruit ripens, it falls to the ground and the seeds inside have the opportunity to grow into new plants. Fruit can decay and release the seeds or animals can eat the fruit and leave the seeds behind in a new place. We recommend watching the Plant Life Cycle movie together as a review or for extension.

In order to grow, plants need sunlight, soil, water, the right temperature conditions, and a safe place. Plants adapt in different ways to get the things they need to survive. An indoor plant near a window will bend toward the light. Many plants in shady places will grow larger leaves to maximize the amount of sunlight it receives. Plants that live in dry places will grow longer roots to find water deep below. Seeds will lie dormant until the right conditions for growth arise.

Plants are all around us—in our backyard and in our food. It’s important for your child to understand how we use plants and how they are an important resource that needs to be conserved and protected.