This learning video introduces high school students to a topic they would not ordinarily study in school, biotechnology, and to different applications of biotechnology that relate to the main theme of the module - making the desert greener. After reviewing traditional methods used for manipulating plants to produce desired traits, students will learn about the methods of making transgenic plants. Dr. Ziad discusses a real world problem that is critical in his country, Jordan, where much of the land is desert. A prerequisite to this video lesson is some background in biology.
The lessons in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom introduce the work of botanists and botanical illustrators, specifically their race to make records of endangered plant species around the world. “Very little of the world’s flora has been fully studied,” says one Smithsonian botanist, “and time is running out.” In the first lesson, students gets to know six endangered plants. They examine illustrations, photographs, and dried specimens of the plants as they consider this question: If a scientist can take a picture of a plant, are there advantages in having an illustration? They go on to consider some of the big questions that botanists themselves must ask: Which of these species are most in need of conservation efforts? Are any of these plants more worth saving than others?In the second lesson, the students try their own hands at botanical illustration, following the methods of a Smithsonian staff illustrator. All that is required for the lesson are pencils, markers, tracing paper, and access to a photocopier.
This video will help students, particularly those not in AP-level classes, have a practical application for knowing about the major divisions between plants, particularly about the details of plant anatomy and reproduction. Students will be able to :Identify the major evolutionary innovations that separate plant divisions, and classify plants as belonging to one of those divisions based on phenotypic differences in plants. Classify plants by their pollen dispersal methods using pollen dispersal mapping, and justify the location of a _crime scene_ using map analysis. Analyze and present their analysis of banding patterns from DNA fingerprinting done using plants in a forensic context.
Through a teacher-led discussion, students realize that the food energy plants obtain comes from sunlight via the plant process of photosynthesis. They learn what photosynthesis is, at an age-appropriate level of detail and vocabulary, and then begin to question how we know that photosynthesis occurs, if we can't see it happening. Elodea is a common water plant that students can use to directly observe evidence of photosynthesis. When Elodea is placed in a glass beaker near a good light source, bubbles of oxygen will be released as products of photosynthesis. By counting the number of bubbles that rise to the surface in a five-minute period, students can compare the photosynthetic activity of Elodea in the presence of high and low light levels.
Communities are dynamic and change over time, and we can observe this process with particular clarity after a disturbance or on new land. Learn about primary and secondary succession, as well as pioneer species. Created by Sal Khan.
Learn about the many types of interspecific interactions: competition, predation, herbivory, symbiosis, parasitism, mutualism, commensalism. Created by Sal Khan.
This unit covers the processes of photosynthesis, extinction, biomimicry and bioremediation. In the first lesson on photosynthesis, students learn how engineers use the natural process of photosynthesis as an exemplary model of a complex yet efficient process for converting solar energy to chemical energy or distributing water throughout a system. In the next lesson on species extinction, students learn that it is happening at an alarming rate. Students discover that the destruction of habitat is the main reason many species are threatened and how engineers are trying to stop this habitat destruction. The third lesson introduces students to the idea of biomimicry or looking to nature for engineering ideas. And, in the fourth and final lesson, students learn about a specialty branch of engineering called bioremediation the use of living organisms to aid in the clean up of pollutant spills.
Students plant sunflower seeds in plastic cups, and once germinated, expose them to varying light or soil moisture conditions. They measure growth of the seedlings every few days using non-standard measurement (inch cubes). After a few weeks, they compare the growth of plants exposed to the different conditions and make bar comparative graphs, which they analyze to draw conclusions about the needs of plants.
What do plants need? Students examine the effects of light and air on green plants, learning the processes of photosynthesis and transpiration. Student teams plant seeds, placing some in sunlight and others in darkness. They make predictions about the outcomes and record ongoing observations of the condition of the stems, leaves and roots. Then, several healthy plants are placed in glass jars with lids overnight. Condensation forms, illustrating the process of transpiration, or the release of moisture to the atmosphere by plants.
Students gain an understanding of the parts of a plant, plant types and how they produce their own food from sunlight through photosynthesis. They also learn about transpiration, the process by which plants release moisture to the atmosphere. With this understanding, students test the effects of photosynthesis and transpiration by growing a plant from seed. They learn how plants play an important part in maintaining a balanced environment in which the living organisms of the Earth survive. This lesson is part of a series of six lessons in which students use their evolving understanding of various environments and the engineering design process, to design and create their own model biodome ecosystems.
This site helps students see how plants and animals interact to accomplish pollination. Students (Grades 3-8) identify plant and animal parts involved in pollination, connections between pollination and food production, relationships between pollinators and the plants they pollinate, and ways flowers have adapted to encourage pollination.
The topic of photosynthesis is a fundamental concept in biology, chemistry, and earth science. Educational studies have found that despite classroom presentations, most students retain their naive idea that a plant's mass is mostly derived from the soil, and not from the air. To call students' attention to this misconception, at the beginning of this lesson we will provide a surprising experimental result so that students will confront their mental mistake. Next, we will help students better envision photosynthesis by modeling where the atoms come from in this important process that produces food for the planet. This lesson can be completed in 50-60 minutes, with the students working on in-class activities during 20-25 minutes of the lesson. As a prerequisite, students need an introductory lesson on photosynthesis, something that includes the overall chemical equation. If students have already studied the intracellular photosynthetic process in detail, this video can still be very helpful because students often miss the big picture about photosynthesis. Materials needed include red, white and black LEGO bricks (described in downloadable hand-out) or strips of red, white and black paper plus paper clips (directions provided in downloadable hand-out). In addition to class discussions, the major in-class activity of this video involves the students' modeling with LEGO bricks or colored paper where the atoms come from in photosynthesis.
The teacher leads a discussion in which students identify the physical needs of animals, and then speculate on the needs of plants. With guidance from the teacher, the students then help design an experiment that can take place in the classroom to test whether or not plants need light and water in order to grow. Sunflower seeds are planted in plastic cups, and once germinated, are exposed to different conditions. In particular, within the classroom setting it is easy to test for the effects of light versus darkness, and watered versus non-watered conditions. During exposure of the plants to these different conditions, students measure growth of the seedlings every few days using non-standard measurement. After a few weeks, they compare the growth of plants exposed to the different conditions, and make pictorial bar graphs that demonstrate these comparisons.