Plant Growth, Development, and Response

Richard Lord
August 11, 2011

 This excellent program engages students by asking questions about familiar things that they may have experienced involving plants, such as whether they have raised plants in a garden or perhaps had noticed how fast grass grows in the spring.  Beginning with a description of life cycles of living organisms, particularly plants, the program explains the structure of seeds and the importance of seed dispersal. Seed germination and patterns of primary and secondary growth in plants are also described.


An introduction to the responses of humans to environmental stimuli leads to a discussion of plant responses to stimuli such as light, gravity, moisture, day length, and touch. Tropisms and nastic movements are contrasted, and the importance of auxins in facilitating tropisms is explained. Photoperiodism is also discussed as an important part of plant behavior. All of the information on this video is at a level appropriate for a high school biology class.


The video features comprehensive explanations with striking photography and clearly labeled graphics that support the narrative. At several points the DVD can be stopped as the narrator asks viewers to make observations or asks for suggestions that involve some thinking. At the end of the program, there is a brief review of its major points. This is followed by a 10-question assessment than can be used as a quick check on student understanding of the material.


Many significant extras are included on the DVD. A glossary explains the major terms that most students would be unlikely to know before watching the video. A clickable index that can be used to access any section of the program makes it easy to repeat a section for reinforcement. It would also be practical for individual student use in reviewing the material. A set of still pictures demonstrating concepts and structures would also be useful for review. An especially valuable extra on the DVD is a pdf file of a 25-page teacher’s manual, which can be printed out. This manual contains learning objectives, viewing suggestions, and a complete script of the program.


There are a variety of black-line masters that include pre- and post-assessments, a vocabulary exercise, and activities on plant life stages and fruit categories. While based on the DVD program, they could also be used in conjunction with appropriate laboratory activities. Answer keys to all the questions and assessments in the teacher’s manual and on the DVD are included. Altogether, this DVD and its teaching manual would make an outstanding resource package for an introductory biology class. It can be used to introduce the topic of plant development and behavior as well as a review at the end of a unit.