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KS3 Science: Birth of a Flower, The (1910)

Explaining photosythesis using silent film

Main image of KS3 Science: Birth of a Flower, The (1910)
Author Ryan Deneven-Lewis
Topic Flowers and Reproduction
Curriculum linksNC KS3 SC2 Life Processes and Living Things

The Birth of a Flower (1910) is an early example of the use of time-lapse photography. This film captures the poetry of flowers opening their petals to the light.

The Birth of a Flower (1910) is a useful as well as beautiful little film that can be used, as it is here, as a starter/plenary to consolidate students' understanding of photosynthesis. It also offers a starting point for considering the benefits and limitations of certain moving image techniques in promoting scientific discovery and understanding.



Start the lesson off by watching the short, three minute extract from this beautiful film (which is only seven minutes long in total). Challenge pupils to write a short 30 second David Attenborough style narration, in which they describe what is happening to the flowers on screen, based on their understanding of the process of photosynthesis etc.

Once pupils have written their narration, hear a selection as the full length version of the film plays. You might want to introduce a competitive element to this - awarding points on delivery or the use of key words, for example.


Some more ideas

  • Can pupils identify the main differences between the flowers shown in the clip and explain why the flowers have different shapes etc?
  • Freeze the film on any frame showing a flower that has opened in response to light and play a quick class version of I-spy, using key words, such as stamen, filament, pistil etc. What can students not see if the frame?
  • The opening title for the film appears under the words 'Urban Science'. What do students think this means? What topic might they choose if they were making a short film for an 'urban science' series?
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Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of Birth of a Flower, The (1910)Birth of a Flower, The (1910)

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