5th grade students work together in teams to create an ecosystem to support Pacific Northwest pollinators.
Students learn a simple technique for quantifying the amount of photosynthesis that occurs in a given period of time, using a common water plant (Elodea). They can use this technique to compare the amounts of photosynthesis that occur under conditions of low and high light levels. Before they begin the experiment, however, students must come up with a well-worded hypothesis to be tested. After running the experiment, students pool their data to get a large sample size, determine the measures of central tendency of the class data, and then graph and interpret the results.
After making observations and inferences about predator-prey relationships in their schoolyard, students work together to build food chains of the organisms they observe.
After learning about food chains, students practice building food chains and design their own backyard food chains.
Students synthesize their understanding of energy flow and trophic relationships through “Food Chains Rummy,” a modified version of the classic card game using Species Cards.
Students will model photosynthesis using ping pong balls as atoms found in air and water. This is relevant to students because it is a common misconception that plants get most of their materials from soil/roots.
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.
What do plants eat? This unit explores plants and how they make food.
This lesson is meant to teach students about the basic physiology of plants.
- To identify different parts of a plant and understand their role within the plant’s life cycle.
- To identify and explain a variety of life processes within the plant.
- To explain why these things are important to the life of a plant.