Plants are a vital component of human life on Earth; they provide us with food and essential nutrients as well as the oxygen we breathe. However, the science education community struggles to find ways to make plant processes less abstract and more understandable for learners. In this article we demonstrate how we make plant processes more understandable for learners by observing the behaviors of a specific plant structure, a stoma, which is a microscopic opening that plays a role in the movement of matter into and out of a plant. Recent research across plant-related science fields centers on plant stomata because they protect plants from various environmental strains, including attacks from pathogens. Translating this research into science classroom instruction has not occurred extensively. A key impediment is that few common methods to make stomata visible or demonstrate their dynamic nature to learners are available. The activities we share here make stomata visible utilizing a specific plant, Tradescantia zebrina, and common laboratory equipment. In the first activity, we share how to demonstrate stomata closing and opening by manipulating a combination of these environmental factors. In the second activity, we describe how to create a visual simulation of stomata response to attacks from microorganisms.

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