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Understand the Roles of Xylem and Phloem in Plants

In this worksheet, students will understand the structures and roles of xylem, phloem and specialised transport cells.

'Understand the Roles of Xylem and Phloem in Plants' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  

Curriculum subtopic:  

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Plants have 3 transport tools to move things around: XYLEM, PHLOEM and ROOT HAIR CELLS.

 

Let’s begin with Xylem:

 

 Water and minerals are transported by xylem

 

They are hollow continuous tubes made from dead cells called vessels.

 

These cells are now empty and have no end walls (ceilings or floors) so they can be joined together smoothly, helping the water flow easily.

 

This structure allows the transport of water and minerals UP through the stem, so think root to leaves!

 

Surprisingly, this antigravity direction is what we call a physical process, meaning the xylem doesn’t need energy to push it’s water contents around.

 

 

Next, the Phloem:

 

Phloem moves food around the plant (sugars and amino acids), transporting them UPWARDS and DOWNWARDS to wherever the plant needs them. 

 

Phloem has its own term for this transport called TRANSLOCATION!

 

But the phloem is actually a combination of two cell types, both of which are alive and depend on each other:

 

One type is the sieve tube cells which are empty and are stacked on top of each other, with their cytoplasm mixing through gaps in the ends of each cell.


But translocation needs energy, which is provided by companion cells, and every sieve tube gets at least one!

 

 

 

Finally, the Root Hair Cells:

 

These allow a plant to absorb water from the soil.

 

They are long and thin so they can collect water around pieces of soil and they have a larger surface area for better water absorption.

 

Water travels from where there’s lots in the soil to where there is little in the cytoplasm, but as the root hair cell starts to fill up, to make sure water keeps coming in, the cell pumps salts into its cytoplasm to draw more water in.

 

This movement of water is called OSMOSIS, and the forcing of salt is active transport, with the latter needing A LOT of energy.

Identify which substance is transported by which transport system: 

Column A

Column B

Phloem
Food (Sugar and Amino Acids)
Xylem
Water (Absorbed)
Root Hair Cells
Water and Minerals

In the xylem, the hollow columns of cells that make up the walls are called what?

True or False:

 

'Xylem cells, known as vessels, are dead'

Indicate what process takes place in which transport system.

Column A

Column B

Translocation
Phloem
Physical Process
Xylem

In order to perform translocation, phloem has specialised cells that are unqiuely adapted to its function

 

Which two types of cells belong to the phloem?

Companion cells

Sieve tube cells

Vessels

End walls

Which structure handles water absorption from the roots?

How does being long and thin help the Root Hair Cells perform their function?

 

[Select ALL the correct options below]

They can reach water in between soil particles

They don't disrupt other root hair cells

This increases their surface area

More cells can be packed together

All the transport processes have their own distinct features that make them different:

 

Choose whether these summarising statementss about the different structures in this topic are true or false:

Which structure in the phloem provides energy?

 

Type YES or NO into the spaces below

When discussing the xylem and phloem, what is the term for the bases of the cells which are only sometimes present?

  • Question 1

Identify which substance is transported by which transport system: 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Phloem
Food (Sugar and Amino Acids)
Xylem
Water and Minerals
Root Hair Cells
Water (Absorbed)
EDDIE SAYS
Did you feel confident answering this first question? Plants organise their transport systems based on what they're moving: -xylem transports water and minerals through the stem - phloem is in charge of moving sugars and amino acids that have been dissolved in water - root hair cells are responsible for water absorption
  • Question 2

In the xylem, the hollow columns of cells that make up the walls are called what?

CORRECT ANSWER
VESSELS
EDDIE SAYS
Was this question easy or hard? Well, the answer is that the walls that make up the xylem are made from specialised cells called VESSELS, which have been hollowed out and are bottomless for easy water flow.
  • Question 3

True or False:

 

'Xylem cells, known as vessels, are dead'

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? Xylem has some special adaptions to its structure that helps it fulfill its function. It's a hollow tube made from DEAD cells called vessels that are now empty, and the bottoms of the cells have also been removed so all their cytoplasm melds together into one steady stream. The continuous shape means there is less turbulence in the water flow, making transport easier.
  • Question 4

Indicate what process takes place in which transport system.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Translocation
Phloem
Physical Process
Xylem
EDDIE SAYS
This is an important one to get right: Xylem transport is a physical process, meaning it doesn't use energy! The phloem, however, uses translocation and the cells involved do need energy (the next question digs deeper into this!)
  • Question 5

In order to perform translocation, phloem has specialised cells that are unqiuely adapted to its function

 

Which two types of cells belong to the phloem?

CORRECT ANSWER
Companion cells
Sieve tube cells
EDDIE SAYS
So the questions are getting harder now as we are going into more detail but comparing terms like this is great for testing your understanding of how xylem and phloem work! So as part of the phloem's translocation, while the xylem only uses one type of cell called the vessel, the phloem uses two: The SIEVE TUBE CELLS and the COMPANION CELLS! The sieve tubes make up the actual structure of the phloem column but every sieve tube gets a companion cell to help it function!
  • Question 6

Which structure handles water absorption from the roots?

CORRECT ANSWER
ROOT HAIR CELLS
EDDIE SAYS
So moving onto our final player in the transport process: Root Hair Cells! These cells are in the roots and allow the plant to take up water from the soil!
  • Question 7

How does being long and thin help the Root Hair Cells perform their function?

 

[Select ALL the correct options below]

CORRECT ANSWER
They can reach water in between soil particles
This increases their surface area
EDDIE SAYS
Being adapted to be long and thin to help them reach the water in between soil particles, but this also increases their surface area for water absorption
  • Question 8

All the transport processes have their own distinct features that make them different:

 

Choose whether these summarising statementss about the different structures in this topic are true or false:

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This final question is really testing your grasp of the topic as a whole and whether you can sum up all the details you've learned in no particular order, so while it might have felt a bit random, how easily you managed to answer this question tells you a lot about your comfort level on this topic! So this is vital: Xylem transports water UP the plant, but phloem moves food UP AND DOWN!!! And as for root hair cells needing energy, if you think back to the intro, we mentioned two processes that work together to absorb water- osmosis and active transport. This answers one question as osmosis therefore is in the root hair cells not the xylem, but the main point is that osmosis doesn't need energy, but the active transport that keeps osmosis going does, so we say the root hair cells DO need energy to work! Well done on getting through this activity, and remember to make note of any explanations that helped you understand this topic better and that you think might help your revision!
  • Question 9

Which structure in the phloem provides energy?

 

Type YES or NO into the spaces below

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
We know that translocation needs energy to work, which is when we think about the purpose of the companion cells! Companion cells provide the energy needed for sieve tubes to function, but at sieve tubes are the main player and makes up the transport system, we say that each sieve tube gets at least one companion cell (not the other way around!)
  • Question 10

When discussing the xylem and phloem, what is the term for the bases of the cells which are only sometimes present?

CORRECT ANSWER
END WALLS
EDDIE SAYS
Yes, the END WALLS are the controversial term in this topic. Xylem have decided they don't need them and this gives the continuous flow of water up the plant. Phloem, however, took a different approach and decided to have end walls BUT have gaps in them to allow the cells to share their cytoplasm as food moves around the plant.
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