Plant Physiology

A collection of resources for learning about plant physiology and agricultural technology.

  • Agricultural Engineering

    Agricultural engineers explain their work and how they use biology and engineering to make farms energy-efficient and our food supply safe and plentiful. They describe what drew them to agricultural engineering and their education and career paths.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Agricultural Technology Student: Water Management & GPS/GIS

    In this video adapted from Pathways to Technology, learn how one person turned a job-ending injury into an opportunity to build a new career. When Richard Guider lost his arm in an industrial accident, he needed to find new career opportunities. He began by attending community college, where he studied agricultural technology and water management. In school, he learned that a job can be more than just a way to earn a paycheck—it can help make a difference in the world, for example, by keeping the fishing holes he loves free of pollution.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Agricultural Technology Student: Farming & GPS/GIS

    In this video adapted from Pathways to Technology, learn why, to be a successful farmer today, you need the latest computer technology. Community college student Adam Sheppard’s family has been farming the same land for seven generations. The geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) technology he is studying in school can help farmers know how much seed to buy, where to plant, and how much compost or fertilizer to use. Adam's internship at a co-op farm allows him to apply what he's learned in the classroom. When finished with school, he plans to bring his knowledge back home to his family's farm.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Flood: Farming and Erosion

    Farmers and rivers have a close, though not always friendly, relationship with one another. Rivers can create prized farmland, but they also flood fields and the communities built alongside them. What's more, farming practices may contribute to an increase in the magnitude and intensity of river flooding. This video segment adapted from NOVA explains the flooding problem and suggests possible solutions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Agriculture and Technology | Georgia Stories


    Technological inventions during the twentieth century have changed the way we work. Once, 30 acres was the most farm families could manage and that was with everyone pitching in. Today, farmers can work thousands of acres and produce more per acre than their grandfathers did. Metter farmer Bill Lanier tells about his experiences in the past saying he did not know he was poor because everyone was poor. According to Lanier, in the 1940s, a wife, mule, bed, and a stove were sufficient for earning a living on the land. Times have changed and the Department of Defense has played a role in improving farming. Dr. Craig Kvien, an agricultural scientist at the University of Georgia, explains how global positioning system technology (GPS) used in the Gulf War helps farmers.

    Grades: 6-12
  • From Seed to Flower

    The growth and development of a plant is one of the most spectacular events in nature. Yet, because it happens so slowly, over the course of days or weeks, it is difficult to observe in real time. This video segment depicts plant growth in time-lapse format, allowing the viewer to observe in just a few seconds some of the most important life stages of a plant, from germination to the formation of a flower, and several phases in between. Footage from NOVA: "The Shape of Things."

    Grades: K-5
  • High-Tech Agriculture

    This video adapted from ATETV features some of the new technologies being applied in the agricultural industry, including the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The video demonstrates how GPS can be used in a tractor to guide it through fields and how GIS analyze collected data to help a farmer make better planting decisions. It also emphasizes the growing job opportunities for students with computer and mechanical skills, as technology is being used increasingly in a wider range of occupations, including farming.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Organic Farming: Conserving Topsoil

    Fueled by economic pressure to maximize crop yields and government incentives to produce only one type of crop, contemporary American farmers have been facing a crisis reminiscent of one that hit the Great Plains in the 1930s. In this video segment adapted from Interactive NOVA, learn why more and more farmers are opting for sustainable, organic farming practices to help preserve the valuable topsoil that they rely on for their livelihoods and society relies on for a continuing supply of grains and produce.

    Grades: 3-13+
  • Teachable Moment: Cross Pollination | Fast Forward

    This video and crop would not be possible without the hard work of countless bees. Learn more about the work of bees in this Teachable Moment.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Pollination

    Students are asked to explain the relationship between a bee and a flower.

    WLVT PBS 39 and PSEA present Science Now! video writing prompts. These prompts are tools for educators and students to use in the classroom to encourage creative writing. The topics covered in these clips are a variety of science related information bits that challenge a student to interpret what they see.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Sock Seeds

    The experiment demonstrated in this ZOOMSci video segment--wearing an old sock through a grassy or weedy field, planting the sock, and watching what grows--will not only give young scientists a better idea of the kinds of plants growing in their area, but will also help them begin to think about the evolutionary strategies of plants.

    Grades: K-8
  • Pollinators: Putting Food on the Table: Video | Nature Works Everywhere

    Pollinators are often overlooked, but in reality are overwhelmingly crucial animals in maintaining ecosystem health and productivity. By enabling plant reproduction, bees and other insects hold the key to keeping wild systems functioning. Learn how scientists and everyday people can help pollinators by changing farming practices and by planting pollinator gardens. 

    Find a lesson plan here to accompany this video. 


    Grades: 3-12
  • Restoration of the American Chestnut | Kentucky Life

    In this KET video segment from Kentucky Life, learn how a majestic old chestnut tree that miraculously survived the blight is being preserved, studied, and pollinated under the watchful eye of scientists. See the precise process the scientists use to control the pollination of the flowers in order to study the offspring for resistance to blight. Watch as the scientists return four months later to harvest the nuts.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Tulip Mania

    Learn how the reproductive strategy of angiosperms, the class to which flowers belong, led to an explosion of diversity. Consider how tulips have enthralled humans across cultures and time.

    Grades: K-12
  • NOVA | The Reproductive Role of Flowers

    This video segment adapted from NOVA explains how flowers play a central role in the reproductive cycle of plants. Their striking array of colors, patterns, fragrances, and nectar all require lots of energy to produce. But it is these features that attract insects and other animals, which, in turn, carry genetic material from flower to flower. The video and illustration describe various parts of the reproductive system, including the stamens and pistil, which generate seeds and ensure the survival of an enormous variety of plant species.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Plant Structure and Function

    Students learn how the structure of different plant parts relates to their function.

    Grades: 6-8, 13+
  • Reproduction

    In this activity, students explore the various ways in which organisms reproduce. Students discuss the role reproduction plays in the cycle of life. They observe that no individual organism lives forever and that, to carry on their species, organisms must pass their genetic instructions on to the next generation. They learn that single-celled organisms reproduce asexually, by dividing and producing two identical copies of themselves. They learn that many plants reproduce sexually, often using complex strategies that have evolved over millions of years. Finally, they explore the pros and cons of asexual and sexual reproduction and the reasons both strategies persist.

    Grades: 5-8, 13+
  • Careers in Agricultural and Environmental Technologies

    In this interactive activity produced for Teachers' Domain, investigate three possible career paths in agricultural and environmental technologies: farming and agricultural production, science and information management, and environmental services and systems. Explore each path to learn more about the education and experience required for jobs such as agricultural products grader/sorter, agricultural equipment operator, precision agriculture technician, surveyor, cereal chemist, agricultural and food scientist, natural resources technician, environmental field technician, and environmental engineer.

    Grades: 6-12
  • City Farm

    Players learn about sustainable practices by growing crops, protecting them against unforeseen problems, and determining how best to conserve resources in this interactive game from WGBH.

    Grades: 4-10
  • Engineer a Crop: Transgenic Manipulation

    The aim is the same as it's been since the dawn of agriculture: to raise the most productive crop you possibly can. But today you are no longer tied to the age-old methods of selective breeding and cross-pollination. With the astounding advancements that have been made recently in genetic technology, it is now possible to out-perform Mother Nature at her own game. In this interactive feature from the NOVA / FRONTLINE Harvest of Fear website, you're the geneticist, with all of the latest technologies at your command. So go ahead. Create your own "supercrop."

    Grades: 9-12