Short botany exercises.

mystic mystic at lcc.net
Thu Jul 8 02:13:50 EST 1999


QDurham wrote:
> 
> I'd sure be interested in hearing about short (one class period ideally)
> hands-on exercises/experiments for middle grade kids.  These sorts of
> activities are easily accomplished in physical sciences, but are tough to do in
> Botany/Biology
> 
> Quent

Maybe this one could be adapted to a single-shot format.  
I had my 7th graders make an in-class plant collection  -- emphasis on
proper collecting and drying techniques, rather than running anything
through a taxonomic key.  They were to turn in one plant per week, and
have 5 plants by the end of the grading period.  Plants were to be
brought in whole, with the dirt knocked off the roots, tucked inside a
sheet of folded newspaper, with their name written in pen on the
newspaper margin.  Each period had a laundry basket, and the plants were
put in there to dry, with extra newspaper between each one, and a stack
of books on top for press-weight.
At the end of the grading period, students had a 1 class period
assignment  --  assemble your plants, glue each one onto a sheet of
bulletin board paper (14" X 24" or so), and label stem, root, leaf, and
flower on each one.  I gave them 10 minutes of walk-through
instructions, then 20 minutes to get the job done, then each one had to
stand up at his/her desk and explain his/her poster, pointing out the
labeled parts for each plant.  
I kept the posters  --  laminated the really good ones, and picked out
10 or 12 really nice mounts that I cut out singly and laminated.  Now I
have a good start at a classroom set of taxonomic specimens that can be
looked at closely with a hand lens in future lessons, and perhaps used
with a simplified taxonomic key (still in progress)
The one day thing, though, with them making the posters and explicating
leaf, root, stem, and flower, was pretty satisfying.  I bet, by god,
that none of them will ever forget which part is which.

Appleman



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