Stopping to Smell the Flowers


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Exploring the genes that help plants make flowers

Image Source:é
ID Number:100
Learning Objective:

HS-LS1.A Structure and Function

  • Systems of specialized cells within organisms help them perform the essential functions of life.
  • All cells contain genetic information in the form of DNA molecules. Genes are regions of DNA that contain the instructions that code for the formation of proteins, which carry out most of the work of cells.
  • Multicellular organisms have a hierarchical structural organization, in which any one system is made up of numerous parts and is itself a component of the next level.

HS-LS1.B Growth and Development of Organisms

  • Cellular division and differentiation produce and maintain a complex organism, composed of systems of tissues and organs that work together to meet the needs of the whole organism.
Author:Margot Goldberg
Materials Needed:Powerpoint Slides, Handouts, Student devices with internet access,, FLOR-ID
Recommended Level:9-12



Flowering is an essential part of a plant's life cycle, and getting the timing and placement of flowering right can mean the difference between making lots of seeds for the next generation (success!) and none at all (EPIC fail). In this lesson, students will explore the genes that help Arabidopsis plants decide that it is time to make flowers. Once a plant makes the decision to flower, other genes must signal the right parts of the plants to develop into flowers. When this signaling is interrupted, very strange things can happen! In this lesson, students use bioinformatics tools available online to learn about the environmental factors that affect flowering and the genes that respond to these factors.


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