Module 1 ~ Silent Invaders
Gross Plant Anatomy – An Inquiry Lab
Note: Freshwater Artificial Plant Kits available for loan upon request.
the study of the parts and/or
structures of plants, that are visible to the naked eye.
In our never-ending quest to encourage students to spend more time looking at plants, we’ve developed this inquiry-
based lab activity. Ideally this would be done with live plants. However, because many teachers don’t have access
to live plants or the aquatic environment (with their students), we’ve assembled a freshwater artificial plant kit
for use in the classroom, available on loan. For more information, contact:
Note: If using live plants, be sure to follow the guidelines for obtaining or possessing live plants:
What can we learn by looking at the structure or “gross anatomy” of a plant (i.e., an aquatic plant)?
Are there clues that can help us track down the identity of an aquatic plant?
Can a plant’s leaf arrangement, habit, or other characteristics tell us anything about the plant?
Biology, botany, environmental science, life science
Refer to Sunshine State Standards listed on the last page of this document.
1-2 class periods
Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic
emersed, submersed, free-floating, floating-leaved, habit, leaf arrangement,
leaf attachment, leaf base, leaf margin, leaf shape, leaf tip
(See definitions on page 3.)
Students will work together to discover ten plants commonly found in Florida’s freshwater
environments. While doing so, they will also learn a basic classification system that is used to help categorize the
plants and ultimately identify them. This will be done through observation and the creation of a drawing or collage
depicting the anatomy or structure of their chosen plant specimen. Once complete, the class will work together to
analyze their observations and try to classify or categorize the plants into the following categories (emersed, floating
and/or floating-leaved, submersed or grasslike). Finally, students will take an even closer look and use plant
characteristics (leaf arrangement, leaf shape, etc.) to try and determine common characteristics shared by plants in
each category (emersed, submersed, etc.)
Note: artificial plant kits do not contain an example of a “grass-like”
Student Learning Objectives:
Students will sharpen observation skills by creating a drawing OR coloring a botanical illustration OR
creating a collage of their specific plant specimen.