26 October 2024

The Sunflower

You may need :

  • A real or fake sunflower or show a picture of one

Here is an example of what could be done. The person telling this story should have an actual sunflower to show the children or a good photo. The story needs to be told in such a way that even small children will recognize the complexity of this very common flower. Describe the sunflower by showing the children that the flower is made of numerous small flowers all packed together. The outer florets (point to them), called ray florets, can be many colors like yellow, maroon, or orange. The florets inside the head (point to them) are called disc florets and grow into sunflower seeds, (show the seeds) but are actually the fruit of the plant. The husk is the wall of the fruit; the real seed is in the kernel.

The florets within the sunflower's cluster are in a spiral shape. Typically, each floret is slanting toward the next (called a golden angle) forming interconnecting spirals, There are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other; on a very large sunflower there is 89 in one direction and 144 in the other.

Sunflowers in the budding stage display what scientists call heliotropism. At sunrise, most sunflower buds face the east. Over the course of the day, they follow the sun from east to west, and then at night they turn back east. Blooming sunflowers are not heliotropic anymore. The stem freezes, typically facing the east. The stem and leaves also lose their green color. This illustration of God’s creation can excite all listeners and increase the children’s interest in His creation.