Science 5: Role and Function of Stomata
Stomata with you? Oh, you don't know what a stomata is. Well, make like a tree and stay put. We've got you covered.
|Elementary and Middle School||5th Grade|
The truth is, when you have the trio that works, things get a bit strange when you remove one
piece of the puzzle. [A piece of a jigsaw is taken out and it falls to pieces]
And the same can be said for the trio involved in the process of photosynthesis.
So who are the big stars of this trio?
That'd be carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight.
Take away carbon dioxide and the whole thing falls apart. [The other components of photosynthesis fall when carbon dioxide is taken away]
Simply put, plants need to let carbon dioxide into their leaves in order to complete photosynthesis.
In order to do this, some plants have openings on their leaves that allow air to enter. [Air going into the opening]
These openings are called “stomata,” which are tiny little structures found on the skin
or epidermis of a plant.
They serve to regulate airflow. Think of a stoma like a tiny little mouth on the leaf of
a plant, which is actually sort of what it looks like. [A mouth drawn on the leaf]
Okay, they don't look that much like mouths. That would be some kind of creepy, nightmare-fueled beast. [Plant covered in tiny mouths]
Luckily for us, we can't actually see the stomata. They're pretty tiny. [People screaming at a leaf]
And they also don't look as nightmareish, so sleep easy tonight, Shmoopers.
They open and close depending on their environmental conditions. For instance, in desert plants, [Cactus covered in stomata 'mouths']
stomata only open up at night so that they don't lose too much water under the hot sun
during the day. Since the regulation of water and carbon dioxide
is so important to photosynthesis and the life of a plant – the job isn't just left
up to the stomata.
That would be a lot of responsibility to handle, and since the stomata can't take a relaxing [The stomata meditating]
yoga class to unwind, they have special guard cells to help them out. [The smomata is stressed out and sweating]
These guard cells surround each stomata.
They're kind of like little muscles that clench up when they want the stomata to be closed and
relax when it's time to open. Their job is to make sure the stoma is open and closed
at exactly the right times. [Two guard cells in police costume]
They're basically a bunch of tough but slightly bone-headed bodyguards that back up every
single decision the stomata makes. Pretty sweet deal, huh?
We wouldn't mind a couple of those guys around when we're trying to convince our parents
to order pizza for dinner… [Guard cell shows up to convince the parents]