Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.
In this lesson, students explore how plants are well adapted to their surroundings. First, a class discussion brings out that plants need a source of chemical energy, substances to build plant material, and water to survive. Students watch a series of short time-lapse videos in which they see how plants respond to their environment. Next, they view a video about plants living in the desert and identify ways in which plants are adapted to their surroundings. Finally, students extend their understanding by considering why some plants have evolved to get nutrients and energy from insects.
1. Display the Plant Type Comparison PDF Document showing different types of green plants. Ask students, "What is food for? Why do plants and animals need it? How do animals get food? How do plants get food?"
Guide the discussion to bring out that food serves two main functions. First, it provides the energy needed by the organism to survive. Second, it provides the chemical building blocks that the organism requires to make needed structures. Animals get food by eating plants or other animals. Plants can make their own food. Their green leaves absorb sunlight and use this energy to make sugars which they use as food.
2. Ask students what they think is meant by "food" when we talk about plants. Some students may be aware that green plants can use sunlight as an energy source. Although it is not important for students to be familiar with photosynthesis, be sure to explain that green plants are special in that they can make their own food from the Sun's energy and from carbon dioxide in the air.
3. Next, ask students, "How do these plants get food and water?" Refer back to the previous step and make the connection between green leaves and food production. Students will recall that plants take in water through their roots. Guide the discussion to bring out that the water in the soil also contains minerals that plants need for their health. Explain that certain minerals in the soil are needed because they provide the plants with building blocks to make their body parts.
4. Remind students that plants don’t have brains or senses such as sight, hearing, and smell. Then ask them the following questions:
At this time, accept all answers. Explain that they will explore these questions by viewing a series of short videos and performing their own experiment.
5. Divide students into pairs and provide them with the materials needed to germinate soaked corn seeds. Explain that they are going to perform an experiment to see if germinating corn seeds can tell up from down. Demonstrate the experimental setup as follows:
6. (Optional) While students are making daily observations of their corn seeds, you may also want to have them watch how a leafy plant responds to light at the same time. If possible, put a leafy potted plant near a bright window and have students predict and observe what the leaves will look like after a day or two in that position.
7. Explain to students that they will watch several short videos of seeds sprouting and plants growing. Further explain that in these videos, hours or days of plant growth are shown in just a few seconds. Have students view Video 1 in the Plants-in-Motion Flash Interactive to see germinating corn seeds. Show the video twice: the first time so that students get a general idea of how it happens, and a second time so that they can observe the patterns of growth. Ask them what they learned from the video about how corn seeds sprout. Guide the discussion to bring out the following:
If students' corn seeds have germinated, have them compare their seeds to those shown in the video.
8. Next, ask students if they think that seeds whose roots grow downward would have an advantage over seeds whose roots did not. Guide the discussion to bring out that the seeds whose roots grow downward are more likely to contact water and promote the survival of the plant.
9. Ask students what they think will happen if a plant growing in a pot is turned on its side. Try to focus students' responses on the direction in which the leaves and stem will grow. You may want to ask students to draw how they think the plant will grow when placed on its side.
Then have students view Video 4 in the Plants-in-Motion Flash Interactive and see if the plant response supports or refutes their predictions. Students should see that plants can respond to gravity so that shoots and leaves move (grow) and reorient upward toward the sky while the roots move (grow) downward into the soil.
10. Next, have students think about light. Remind students that plants don’t have eyes. Ask, "Do you think that plants can sense light?" Explain that in the next video they will see sunflower seeds sprouting in the darkness and in the light. Instruct students to look for differences in growth between the seeds kept in the dark and in the light.
Now show students Video 2 of the Plants-in-Motion Flash Interactive. Ask them to describe the differences they saw between the seeds sprouting in the dark and the light. Perhaps the most notable difference that they may mention is that the shoots grow taller in the dark as compared to the light. Ask students why they think this happens. Ask them what they think the absence of light might have to do with this.
11. Tell students that they will now see a video of an oxalis (lucky shamrock) plant growing in a room where a light is turned on for half of the day. Ask students to predict how the leaves will respond to the light and to the dark.
Then have students view Video 5 of the Plants-in-Motion Flash Interactive and see if their predictions were supported by the video. Students should see that the leaves lift toward the light and close when they are in the dark.
12. Conclude this part of the lesson by revisiting the questions posed at the end of Part I. Instruct students to use evidence from their experiment or the videos to support their answers.
Guide the discussion to bring out that although plants don't have the brains or senses that we posses, they still respond to their surroundings in ways that are important for their growth and health.
13. Explain to students that they are about to watch a video that describes plants living in the desert. Ask them, "What do you think is the biggest problem for plants that live in the desert?" Students' answers will vary, but focus the discussion on the need to obtain and conserve water.
14. Divide the class into pairs and give each pair a copy of the Plants Living in the Desert PDF Document. Have students watch the first part of the Desert Biome QuickTime Video that describes how plants are adapted to the desert environment. [Note: Students do not need to watch the rest of the video, which focuses on animal adaptations.] Instruct the groups to identify at least four characteristics of plants in the desert that help them to survive in the harsh climate.
15. After the groups have completed their task, ask for volunteers from each group to share their results. Write their answers on the board or on an overhead transparency.
16. Ask students why they think the adaptations used by desert plants wouldn't work as well for plants living in other environments, such as a rain forest. Lead the discussion to the idea that, just as the plants living in the desert are well suited to live in that environment, plants living in other types of places are well suited to those environments.
17. Have students stay in their pairs and pass out to each group a copy of the Plants That Trap and Digest Insects PDF Document. Have students view the Carnivorous Plants QuickTime Video. Instruct them to answer the questions on the handout.
18. After students have answered the questions on the handout, ask for volunteers to read their responses aloud. As before, write their answers on the board or on an overhead transparency.