This activity meets several NSTA Life Science Standards for K-2 and 3-5 students. Students will use an orchid flower diagram, key terms, and a worksheet to answer four critical thinking questions. Students can explore Smithsonian Gardens’ digital exhibition Orchids: Hidden Stories of Ground Breaking Women and Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection to learn more about orchids.

Required Materials:

  • Printed copies of the complete activity for each student
  • Scissors
  • Glue or glue sticks
  • Colored pencils, crayons, or markers
  • Pen or pencil
  • Images of orchids or real orchids to study

Activity Goals:

  • Students learn more about structure and function by creating a 3D paper model of an orchid.

After this activity, students should be able to recognize the distinct parts of an orchid flower and their corresponding purposes.

Cattleya Love Knot, or a cattleya hybrid

Critical Thinking Questions

Cattleya hybrid

Orchid Greenhouse

Structure Guide

Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection

Orchid Greenhouse

Structure and Function Key Terms

Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection

Cattleya Martha Stewart

Orchid Flower Activity

Cattleya Martha Stewart ‘Waldor’ Courtesy Arthur Chadwick

Orchids in the Orchids 2022 Exhibit

Critical Thinking Answer Guide

Orchids in the Orchids 2022 Exhibit

Further Learning:

Learn from Smithsonian Orchid Scientist, Melissa McCormick

Students can see an orchid bloom in 30 seconds, watch closely to see the difference between sepals and petals!

Watch a magical virtual tour of Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection: