Explore Flowers by Making Petal Wheels

Combine science and art by creating an outside-in view of a flower to better understand all of its parts.
By Liz Heinecke
Jul 02, 2016

Ages

3-10

Explore Flowers by Making Petal Wheels

Jul 02, 2016

What’s inside of a flower? By taking a blossom apart, petal by petal, your kids can explore the architecture of blooms. This activity is also a great way to get kids off screens and outdoors to see what’s blooming.

For this experiment, you’ll need:

  • A piece of foam board, poster board, or a sturdy sheet of paper
  • Glue dots, rubber cement, or liquid glue
  • Fresh flowers
  • Scissors

STEPS

1. To start, take a nature walk with your child and collect as many types of blossoms as you can find. Let your little one use scissors to help cut the flowers they choose. (Younger children may need help using scissors.)

Have your child study the blooms and point out the stem and petals.   

2. Set the poster board or paper out and have your child begin to carefully pull the petals off the flower, beginning with the petals on the outside. Suggest she lay the petals in circles, beginning with a larger circle using the outside layer of petals.

3. As she works her way to the inside of the flower, she can make smaller circles inside the larger ones, so the middle parts of the flower end up in the center of the circles.

4. When her design is complete, glue the petals to the paper.

5. Compare different types of flowers, and ask questions about the blossoms they've taken apart. Do all flowers have the same number of petals? Do they all look the same on the inside? Why does she think some flowers are different colors? Are parts of the flower sticky, or dry and covered with powdery pollen?

TIP: For parents with younger children, or who just have a child who rather make a different design with his petals, let him be creative! He's still learning what’s inside a flower.

The Science Behind the Fun

Flowers are important for helping plants make seeds, and each part of a flower has a job. By moving from the outside inward there's quite a few things your child might notice, such as:
- The little green leaves on the very outside of a flower are called sepals, and they help protect buds as they develop.
- Petals have bright colors to help them attracts bees and butterflies, who spread pollen.
- Pollen is the powdery substance you see on long, threadlike flower parts (called anthers) in some flowers, and in some blossoms, you’ll find sticky parts (called stigma) that flowers us to trap pollen.  

© Quarry Books, 2016/Outdoor Science Lab for Kids
Featured Photos Credit: © Amber Procaccini

You can find more experiments like this one at kitchenpantryscientist.com, and in my books Kitchen Science Lab for Kids (Quarry Books), and Outdoor Science Lab for Kids (Quarry Books).

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