Investigating Plant Structure and Function

Richard Lord
August 11, 2011

An excellent introduction to the topic of plant structure and function, this program immediately engages students with the idea that plants, like humans and other animals, have organs made up of tissues. Examining the types of plant tissues (meristematic, protective, ground, and vascular), the narrator shows examples and relates the tissues to important biological processes like mitosis.


The root, stem, and leaf are explained in macroscopic as well as microscopic terms. The ways the organs are connected with one another and how they carry out necessary plant activities are described at a level appropriate for a high school biology class. The video features comprehensive explanations with striking photography and clear 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. There are many significant extras 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 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 roots and growth rings of trees. 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 structure and function as well as a review at the end of a unit.