Dandelions – Background

Even the smallest child recognizes the common yellow dandelion. Their sunny flowers, bundled and offered as bouquets, announce that spring is here. Whether they bring a smile or a frown, you can’t help but admire a plant that seems to be able to grow anywhere – from lawn to roadside, from parking lot to playground. Dandelion flowers serve the same function as all other flowers: to produce seeds for the next generation. Though not native to North America, dandelions are here to stay, thanks to a whole host of strategies that ensure their fluffy seeds will float on breezes far and wide.

The dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale, gets its common name from the French dents de lion or teeth of the lion, thought to describe its jagged leaves. Continue reading Dandelions – Background

Dandelions – Activities

FOCUS: Dandelion flowers serve the same function as all other flowers: to produce seeds for the next generation. Whether you consider them wildflowers or weeds, these hardy plants are here to stay, and they provide an important food source for birds, bees, and other animals. We’ll dissect simple flowers to see how seeds develop and compare these to the complex structure of dandelions. It’s easy to find examples of dandelions in all stages of development and get a first-hand view of the progression from flower bud to fluffy white seed head. You and the wind can help spread their parachute seeds far and wide.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about dandelions.

Give each small group of children a variety of flowers, including a dandelion, and ask children to talk about what they notice about the different flowers.

Materials: an assortment of flowers, including dandelions; magnifying lenses.

Objective: To investigate a flower’s structure, sorting the parts and looking for patterns of similarities and differences.

Give each pair of children a simple flower, such as a Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria), daffodil*, or tulip, and a magnifying lens. It is helpful if everyone has the same kind of flower. Continue reading Dandelions – Activities

Dandelions – Puppet Show

Dandelion Defenders


Characters: Dandy Dandelion, Nellie, Willie Woodchuck, Harriet Honeybee.

Props: Trowel, lawn mower, dandelion seed head (or, if available, real dandelion seed head).

Dandy Dandelion I know I’m not wanted here in this garden, but it sure is nice. Rich soil, no shade. I’ve got it made, unless…uh oh, here comes trouble.

Nellie  Hello there, Dandy Dandelion. I love your cheerful flowers! Too bad I have to pull you up, but you don’t belong in the garden. Continue reading Dandelions – Puppet Show

Dandelions – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Dandelions – Standards