You’ve probably learned about the special things plants need to make food for themselves: Water, carbon dioxide from the air, nutrients from the soil, and light! But unlike us, plants don’t take in light using eyes. Instead, they have a special helper in their leaves called “chlorophyll” (which is what makes them green!) that helps them to absorb the light they need, even though they don’t have eyes.
Even without eyes, some plants are even able to “follow” the path of the sun! Have you ever seen a sunflower? Plants like sunflowers are known as heliotropes, meaning they bend themselves to stay turned towards the sun. Although they’re so good at knowing where the sun is, even heliotrope plants don’t have eyes; while they can detect light, they don’t have a brain that interprets it into an image. Instead, they use the light they absorb for growing big and strong!
Ask the grown-ups in your family if there’s any place near where you live that sunflowers grow. Find out if you can go see the sunflowers at two different times of the day, like morning and late afternoon. Remember to bring your sketch-pad and some crayons or pencils!
Stand in the same place both times you go, and draw what you see. Remember to draw where the sun is each time, and to pay attention to which way the sunflowers are facing! After the second trip, compare your two drawings! What do you notice??
Sources & links
“Photosynthesis.” 2004. University of Cincinnati Clermont College. 21 Feb. 2011 Denning, David. “Do plants have eyes?” Biogalleries. BioMedia Associates. 21 Feb. 2011 "heliotrope." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 21 Feb. 2011. Dictionary.com