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Where do I grow?

Where do I grow?

 

Plan an experiment testing the growth and survival of plants under different conditions and deduce what environment it has evolved to be adapted to.

Materials

  • Plant seedlings. You may choose one species for the whole class, or multiple for comparison (e.g. a succulent, herb, etc). Quantity of seedlings will vary with number of student groups and tests conducted. See preparation notes for further details.
  • Soil, trowel, spray bottle
  • Range of environmental conditions – e.g. fridge/freezer, dark room/cupboard, heat lamp.

Location

  • School grounds and classroom

Note for teachers

 

This activity offers a lot of flexibility depending on your resources and student readiness.

You may choose to base this activity on a single environment explored in the web resource – i.e. testing whether your chosen plant species are adapted to the rainforest, arid zone, or cold climates.

Alternatively, you might combine all environments in a single experiment. You may test one plant species in various environmental conditions, or multiple plant species in various conditions. You may choose to allocate different treatments to different student groups – e.g. Group 1 will test plants growing under different light levels, Group 2 will plants growing in different temperatures, Group 3 will test plants growing with different water availabilities, etc. Students with greater levels of readiness can conduct more tests – e.g. use two plant species expose to multiple environmental conditions.

Preparation

Obtain seedlings of a plant species. You may choose one species for the whole class, or multiple for comparison (e.g. a succulent, herb, etc).

Consider how many different conditions you will expose your plant to – e.g. room temperature, extreme cold, extreme heat, dark, light, low water availability, high water availability; and ensure you have one seedling of each plant species per treatment.

Brainstorm

Before you plan your experiment, brainstorm the following questions with the class:

  1. Observe the structural features of your chosen plant(s). What conditions do you think your plant has adapted to?
  2. How will you expose your plant to different environmental conditions?
  3. Will there be a control?
  4. What will you measure in this experiment?
  5. How will you know if the plant is adapted to the conditions you have exposed it to?
  6. How long will your experiment run for?
  7. Will you be watering your plants throughout your experiment?
  8. What variables must you keep the same in your experiment for a fair test?

Complete the report template below for your experiment

Aim
What are you testing?
 
Variables Independent
What are you changing in this experiment?
 
Dependent
What are you measuring in this experiment?
 
Controlled
What are you keeping constant in this experiment?
 
Hypothesis
What do the structural features of your plant indicate about its natural habitat? How can this inform your predictions?
 
Materials
Record the materials used in your experiment
 
Method
Draw a scientific diagram showing your experimental set up OR insert labelled photos of your experimental set up
 
Results
Tabulate and graph your results.
 
Discussion
What did your results show?
Assess the accuracy, validity and reliability of your results.
 
Conclusion
Did your experiment address the aim?