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Dandelion Investigation

Most people consider dandelions weeds, but they are one of my favorite wildflowers. Dandelions are an important early spring food source for pollinators like bees and butterflies. The entire dandelion plant is edible and highly nutritious. They're also a natural anti-inflammatory and can be used medicinally to treat minor inflammation and relieve pain. 

One of the neatest things about dandelions is their lifecycle. Much like a butterfly or a frog, dandelions go through an amazing transformation, changing their beautiful yellow flowers into poofy seed heads. In this post I share a few activities and resources for learning about dandelions and their fascinating lifecycle.


Resources For Learning About Dandelions

When I was planning our dandelion investigation, I came across several great videos and websites to use. Here are a few of our favorites:

-Interesting Facts About Dandelions from Just Fun Facts. This websites shares some general information about dandelions.

-Time Lapse Dandelion From Flower To Seed Head is a really cool time lapse video of the dandelion transformation from flower to seed head.

-Dandelion Life Cycle Animated from LifeForBeginners is a short animated video that shows the entire dandelion lifecycle.

-Dandelion from Edible Wild Food is a great webpage with lots of general information about dandelions.

-Plant Structure from Science For Kids explains how plants grow and describes the basic parts of a flowering plant.

-The Secret Physics of Dandelion Seeds is a short but very interesting video about how dandelion seeds glide and move through the air.

Dandelion Activities

Dandelion Lifecycle Scavenger Hunt: Dandelions go through several life stages. They start out as a tiny seed and then grow into a plant. The plant grows flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. The yellow flowers then close and transform into poofy seed heads. The seeds eventually blow away like tiny parachutes and the cycle starts again.

Watch a couple videos, read a book, or look at pictures about the various life stages of a dandelion and then challenge your children to go outside and find an example of each lifecycle stage. 

Sketch The Life Stages Of A Dandelion: Using the dandelions found in your scavenger hunt or pictures from the internet or a book, have your kids sketch and label each of the life stages of a dandelion (seed, plant, flower bud, flower, a flower in transformation to a seed head, and a seed head).

Dandelion Math: Pick a few dandelion flowers and leaves. Then get out a ruler or tape measure and have your children measure and record the length of the stems and leaves and the width of the flower head.

Go outside and find a dandelion plant. Count how many flowers it has and how many seed heads it has. Have your child calculate the percentage of flowers in each stage.

Dandelion Dissection: Pick a few dandelion buds, flowers and seed heads with the stems. Let your child pull them apart and explore the various parts. 

The Parts Of A Dandelion: Learn about the basic parts of a plant and then try to identify the parts on a dandelion. The roots grow into the soil where they collect water and nutrients. The stem carries nutrients and water to the other parts of the plant. Leaves absorb sunlight and carry out the process of photosynthesis which converts sunlight and carbon dioxide into food for the plant. Flowers contain the parts that allow for reproduction of the plant. And seeds contain everything needed for a new plant to grow under the right conditions.

Draw or print a simple dandelion plant and have your child identify and label the different parts.

Collect a couple dandelion flowers and gently pull them apart. Notice that dandelion flowers are actually compromised of many small flowers (florets) appearing as a single bloom.

Dandelion Art: Try making dandelion themed art with chalk or oil pastels on black construction paper.

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