Montessori Botany - The Root

This is a  3 part card pouch I made to hold the parts of the root. 

I downloaded these parts of a root cards here by Tanya at the montessorimaterials.org website. There is also booklet there that is meant to a accompany the 3 part cards. During a time, present the roots of the plant using a similar presentation as that of the parts of the plant. Remove the plant from the pot  and place it in a large bowl of water to help remove the soil from the roots. Place a wet towel on a cookie sheet or plastic tray. Remove the plant from the water and place it on the wet towel. Give the children a magnifying glass and ask the children what they see. Name the parts of the root that pertain to the 3 part cards you have: primary root, secondary root, root hair, and root caps. Place the plant with roots covered on your science table for the children to observe. Place the plant in water when you leave overnight.
Primary root: thickest root of the plant  
Secondary root: thinnest roots growing out from the primary
Root hairs: hair-like growths on the roots that absorb water and minerals from the soil
Root caps: the protective part at the end of a root   
            
For an in depth presentation to the function of the root system you will want to do an experiment with a flowering plant (preferably light or white colored petals on the flowers), colored water, and a bucket. During a group time, present the flowering plant to the children and go over the parts of the plant as a follow up lesson the parts of the plant. Remind them of the primary function of the roots which is to receive water and nutrients through the soil. Remove the plant from it's pot, soaking it in water to remove loosening the soil from the roots and root ball. Place the plant in the dark colored water. Place the plant in the appropriate sunlight and allow it to remain there for a few days. Everyday ask the children to observe the changes in the plant. The flowers should begin to turn the color of the water. This experiment gives the children a concrete example of how plants receive water through their roots.
     

<<< This was a little booklet I made from pictures I cut out of an old gardening book about edible roots. I put it on the botany shelf with the root nomenclature material. Here you can see a gardener digging up edible root potatoes
         For a fun root extension, I cut off the back of my cooking magazine that had beautiful illustrations of edible roots. I went to my local produce market and bought as many of these roots I could find, I cut them up into small sample pieces for the kids to taste. We had fun root tasting. The children to my surprise, sampled them all! Note you can also peel sample pieces with a potato peeler :) 

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