Source: New York Voices: "Botanical Garden"
Funding for the VITAL/Ready to Teach collection was secured through the United States Department of Education under the Ready to Teach Program.
In this New York Voices segment, learn how plants can be used to help us learn about climate changes over time. For example, a warming trend can be determined by looking at herbarian samples that flower earlier and earlier each year. The scientists also conduct research to find plant genes that are important for agriculture, food and medicine.
Plant science, botany
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for elementary or middle school students using this video in an English language arts or science lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) When text is difficult to understand, it may mean there is a lack of familiarity with the vocabulary used. Sometimes we don’t have any background knowledge about the topic. One strategy to use in cases like this is to try to organize the information by identifying the main idea. How do we determine what the main idea is?
Focus (ELA) Listen to the segment. In your mind, organize the ideas presented. Think about what the main idea of the segment is.
Follow Up (ELA) What is the main idea of the segment? How did you organize the ideas presented as you listened? What process did you use? Did organizing the ideas help you arrive at the main idea? Explain.
Frame (SCI) How might scientists know about historic climate changes before people started keeping written records of weather?
Focus (SCI) Watch and note how scientists are using plants to learn about trends and climate changes in history.
Follow Up (SCI) Discuss how scientists are learning from plants. What do we have to gain from this type of study of plants? What purposes does it serve?
Dr. Barbara Thiers: Study of herberian specimens has implications far beyond just those few of us botanists who like to study them. The plants can be important for documenting climate change over times. Plants respond to their environment, we all know this. When its extra warm in the winter times, the plants flower early and as we suspect that the global temperature is on a warming trend and the plants will help to document that, that as it gets warmer, we find that they are flowering earlier and earlier. We can see that with our own eyes today, but we don’t know what happened maybe forty years ago, but by going to the herberian specimens we can see aha, this plant wasn collected in March and it was flowering and normally that plant doesnt flower until april or may, that must have been a warm year, we look for trends. We are also interesting in plants that might be developed for horticulture or agriculture. You might, by looking at herberian specimens, find relatives of a plants that’s important as a source of a drug or as a source of food. You might be able to collect those and grow them and maybe they have genes the could be introduced to a breeding stock that would make the drug more tolerant or better in some way for agriculture.
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