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Today we did more clean-up work

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Today we did more clean-up work

    Granny’s Garden School

    Plant Life Cycle with Fungus Experiment

    Grade Four

Suggestions for using this lesson in the garden cycle:

    ; Use this in the fall when the fourth grade discusses on the scientific method, or

    use this when plants are taught.

Ohio Standards Connections:

Life Science

    ; Heredity A1: Compare the life cycles of different plants including germination,

    maturity, reproduction, and death.

    ; Diversity and Interdependence of Life B2: Relate plant structures to their specific

    functions (e.g., growth, survival, reproduction, and photosynthesis).

    ; Diversity and Interdependence of Life C6: Describe how organisms interact with

    one another in various ways (e.g., many plants depend on animals for carrying

    pollen or dispersing seeds).

Scientific Inquiry

    ; Doing Scientific Inquiry C3: Develop, design, and conduct safe, simple

    investigations or experiments to answer questions.

    ; Doing Scientific Inquiry C4: Explain the importance of keeping conditions the

    same in an experiment.

    ; Doing Scientific Inquiry C5: Describe how comparisons may not be fair when

    some conditions are not kept the same between experiments.

Scientific Ways of Knowing

    ; Ethical Practices B2: Record the results and data from an investigation and

    make a reasonable conclusion.

Lesson Summary:

    Students understand the life cycle of annual, biennial, and perennial plants. Students understand how seeds are dispersed. Students apply the steps of the scientific method to detect the presence of fungus spores in air and the conditions that produce the most/least growth of fungus.

Estimated Duration:

    30 minutes on the first day; extra time required in classroom to observe experiment, record observations; another 30 minute session to make conclusions

Materials:

    A pencil for each team of students

    Fungus Experiment Worksheet for each student

    8 Fungus Experiment Data Collection Sheets (one for each jar)

    Fungus Experiment Conclusions for each student

    Two Slices of bread cut in half

    Two ripe, whole cherry tomatoes of the same weight or other ripe fruit like a strawberry (strawberry yields better results)

    Two small potatoes of the same weight

    Page 1 Revised 11/08

    Eight glass jars with lids

    Water

    Eye Dropper

    Magnifying lens

    Background Information:

    1. A plants life cycle describes how long a plant lives or how long it takes to

    germinate, grow, flower, and set seed. Plants can be annual, biennial, or

    perennial.

    2. An annual is a plant that germinates, grows, flowers, makes seeds and dies in

    one growing season. Annuals usually bloom for a long time in the growing

    season. When the warm weather is over, the annual dies. Examples of annuals

    are many weeds, marigolds, tomatoes (most vegetables), and petunias.

    3. A biennial is a plant that takes two growing seasons to complete its life cycle. In

    the first year it germinates and grows leaves. Over the winter, the plant is

    dormant, or at rest, but the roots are alive and storing foods. In the second year,

    the plant comes up, grows, flowers, makes seeds, and dies. Examples of

    biennials are parsley, carrots, and foxglove.

    4. A perennial is a plant that lives for a long time. It comes back every year after

    being dormant over the winter. It can grow, flower, and set seed for many years.

    Each perennial grows and flowers at its own special time in the growing season.

    Examples of perennials are grasses, trees, shrubs, daisies, and roses.

    5. Annuals and biennials grow from seed. Most are planted after the last frost date

    from seeds or transplants from seeds started indoors. Annuals and biennials may

    appear to behave like perennials if they continue to return in the same location

    after their life cycle is complete, but at the start of their life cycle, they are

    germinating from seeds that were dispersed the previous season, and are not

    growing from roots that were dormant over winter.

    6. Perennials regrow from roots, bulbs (which put down roots), or buds on stems.

    New perennial plants can be started from seeds.

7. Seeds are important to produce new plants. Seeds are dispersed when they

    travel by wind, water, animals, and gravity. Examples of dispersal by wind

    maple “helicopters”, dandelion; by animals and birds – burs, eating and passing

    (seed coat protects seed); by water coconut; by gravity seed

    pods/pinecones opening and dropping seeds; by people, too, on purpose or

    accidentally.

    8. Seeds need space away from the parent plant to grow, so a new plant does not

    compete for resources with the parent plant.

    9. Some plants produce seeds but do not have flowers, like conifers (trees and

    shrubs that have needles). Conifers make cones that have seeds inside.

    Page 2 Revised 11/08

    10. Some plants don’t have flowers or cones, so they don’t produce seeds. They

    make tiny cells called spores in cases that release them to the air. Examples are

    ferns, mosses, and fungi. Edible fungi mushrooms, yeast bread, yogurt, and

    cheese.

    11. Spores from mold, fungus, and mushrooms grow by living on something else. The

    air is filled with mold spores, but we can’t see or smell them. Spores travel

    through the air until they find the right conditions to grow in.

    Activity:

    1. What is the life cycle of a plant? Ask the students to name the parts of the life

    cycle of a plant. The life cycle describes how long it takes to germinate, grow,

    flower, and set seed. Explain that different plants can have different life cycle

    lengths.

2. Discuss the life cycles of annuals, biennials, and perennials.

    3. What is an annual? Ask the students how long they think the life cycle of an

    annual is. Give clues by relating the meaning of annual or by naming some

    plants they may know. An annual is a plant that has a life cycle of one growing

    season. In our climate when the warm weather is over, the annual dies. How do

    annuals grow each year? Annuals grow from seeds. Examples of annuals are

    many weeds, marigolds, tomatoes (most vegetables), and petunias.

    4. What is a biennial? Ask the students how long they think the life cycle of a

    biennial is. Give clues by relating the meaning of the prefix “bi”. A biennial is a

    plant that takes two growing seasons to complete its life cycle. In the first year it

    germinates and grows leaves. In our climate, over the winter, the plant is

    dormant, or at rest, but the roots are alive and storing foods. In the second year,

    the plant comes up, grows, flowers, makes seeds, and dies. How do biennials

    grow each year? In the second year, the plant grows from its roots. After the

    complete two-year life cycle, biennials grow from seeds. Examples of biennials

    are parsley, carrots, and foxglove.

    5. What is a perennial? Ask the students how long they think the life cycle of a

    perennial is. Give clues by providing examples of perennials they know. A

    perennial is a plant that lives for a long time. It comes back every year after

    being dormant over the winter. It can grow, flower, and set seed for many years.

    Perennials that flower do so at special times in the growing season. Examples of

    perennials are grasses, trees, shrubs, daisies, and roses. How do perennials grow

    each year? Perennials regrow from roots, bulbs (which put down roots), or buds

    on stems.

    6. Why are seeds important? Seeds are necessary to produce new plants. Seeds

    are dispersed when they travel by wind, water, animals, and gravity.

    7. Ask the students if they can think of plants that produce seeds but do not have

    flowers. Conifers (trees and shrubs that have needles) make cones that have

    seeds inside.

    Page 3 Revised 11/08

    8. What if a plant doesn’t have flowers or cones? Some plants don’t have flowers or

    cones, so they don’t produce seeds. They make tiny cells called spores in cases

    that release them to the air. Ask students if they can think of plants that produce spores. Examples are ferns, mosses, and fungi. Edible fungi mushrooms, yeast

    bread, yogurt, and cheese.

    9. Spores from mold, fungus, and mushrooms grow by living on something else. The air is filled with mold spores, but we can’t see or smell them. Spores travel through the air until they find the right conditions to grow in.

    10. Explain the fungus experiment by walking through the worksheet, and have the students complete the observations, hypothesis, and the controlled areas of the Fungus Experiment Worksheet.

    a. Question: Based on what we just learned about spores and mold, how

    can we find out if mold spores are present in the air, and are there

    conditions that allow them to grow more quickly?

    b. Observations: Where do we find mold, fungus, or mushrooms? Student

    answers can be in the woods, on old bread, on decaying matter.

    c. Hypothesis: Develop a hypothesis to test based on the observations. The

    hypothesis should include references to light and moisture. Example: Mold

    grows best with moisture and no light. (It can be whatever guess students

    want to make.)

    d. Ask the students what must stay the same the contents of the jar (weight,

    size), size of jar, closed lid, the amount of water added. These are items

    that we will control. Ask them why it is important to be sure these things

    remain the same. To test the hypothesis, some conditions like the jar, the

    amount of water added, and sample size need to be the same to

    conduct a fair assessment. We are testing only the impact of light and

    moisture and not the size of the objects. Ask the students what will

    change or vary the light conditions and moisture. These are the

    independent variables.

    e. Procedure: Discuss the items that will be placed in each jar. What is driest?

    What is the moistest? What are some other characteristics of the items

    (bread is porous and light; potatoes are dense and have skin). Each

    team receives two glass jars with lids. Team 1 receives two halves of a

    slice of bread and moistens them with water using the same amount of

    water from an eye dropper, and places one half in each jar. Close the jar

    tightly with a lid. Put one jar in a cupboard and the other jar in a sunny

    location. Team 2 receives two dry halves of a slice of bread, and places

    a half of dry bread in each jar. Close the jar tightly with a lid. Put one jar

    in a cupboard and the other in a sunny location. Team 3 receives two

    whole cherry tomatoes (or strawberries), and places one in each jar.

    Close the jar tightly with a lid. Put one jar in a cupboard and the other in

    a sunny location. Team 4 receives two potatoes, and places one in each

    jar. Close the jar tightly with a lid. Put one jar in a cupboard and the

    other in a sunny location.

    Page 4 Revised 11/08

    f. Results: Students should observe the jars daily, and record their

    observations. Record observations on the Fungus Experiment Data Sheet.

    Use a magnifying glass to look closely at the fungus. Describe the

    appearance of the food item and the fungus.

    g. Conclusions: After one week, gather the students to complete the

    conclusions section of the Fungus Experiment Data Sheet.

    Sources:

    ; “How to Grow Perennials”, Cornell Home Gardening.

    http://www.explore.cornell.edu/scene.cfm?scene=Home%20Gardening&stop=H

    G%20%2D%20How%20to%20Grow%20Perennials&view=HG%20%2D%20How%20to

    %20Grow%20Perennials%20%2D%20Intro

    ; “The Great Plant Escape Case 1 – In Search of Green Life”, University of Illinois

    Extension Urban Programs Resource Network.

    http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/gpe/case1

    ; Scott, Foresman. Discover Science. Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman, and

    Company, 1993.

    ; Junior Master Gardener Teacher/Leader Guide Level One. College Station,

    Texas: Texas Agricultural Extension Service, 1999.

    Page 5 Revised 11/08

    Granny’s Garden School

    Fungus Experiment Worksheet

    Name: _________________________________

Steps of the Scientific Method Our Experiment

    Problem What conditions are best for fungus to grow?

Observations Where do we find mold,

    fungus, or mushrooms?

Hypothesis

Procedure What is the same in the

    experiment? Why is it important to

    keep these conditions the same?

Procedure What will we vary?

Procedure Each team receives two glass jars with lids.

     Team 1 receives two watered moistened halves of a

    slice of bread, and places one half in each jar. Close

    the jar tightly with a lid. Put one jar in a cupboard and

    the other jar in a sunny location.

    Team 2 receives two dry halves of a slice of bread,

    and places a half of dry bread in each jar. Close the

    jar tightly with a lid. Put one jar in a cupboard and the

    other in a sunny location.

    Team 3 receives two whole cherry tomatoes or

    strawberries, and places one in each jar. Close the jar

    tightly with a lid. Put one jar in a cupboard and the

    other in a sunny location.

    Team 4 receives two small potatoes, and places one

    in each jar. Close the jar tightly with a lid. Put one jar

    in a cupboard and the other in a sunny location.

    Page 6 Revised 11/08

    Granny’s Garden School

    Fungus Experiment Data Collection

    Team Names: ______________________________

    Food Item: ____________________________

    Location: ? light ? dark

    Observations

    Date Describe the appearance of Did fungus Describe the appearance of the

    the food item. grow? fungus.

    Granny’s Garden School

    Fungus Experiment Conclusions

    Page 7 Revised 11/08

    Name: __________________________

    Which jar grew fungus on the earliest date (food item and dark or light location)?

    Which jar grew the most fungus after one week (food item and dark or light location)?

    Based on your results what conditions are best for growing the most fungus?

    How could this experiment be improved to further test for fungus growth conditions?

    Page 8 Revised 11/08

    Granny’s Garden School

    Plant Life Cycle with Fungus Experiment

Today we learned about the life cycle of annual, biennial, and perennial plants. A

    plant's life cycle describes how long it takes to germinate, grow, flower, and set seed. We learned that plants are annual, biennial, or perennial depending on how long their life cycle is.

    An annual is a plant that germinates, grows, flowers, makes seeds, and dies in one growing season. A biennial is a plant that takes two growing seasons to complete its life cycle. A perennial is a plant that lives for a long time.

We learned that some plants grow from seeds, and some from spores. Spores are

    always present in the air, and grow by living on something else when the conditions are right.

We decided to test for the presence of spores in the air by

    conducting our own experiment. We have been discussing

    the steps of the scientific method in school and used these

    steps to set up our experiment. We used some food items

    from our gardens in the experiment.

Join our class for our next gardening experience. E-mail

    Granny at rgpaolo@fuse.net or call Roberta Paolo at

    324-2873.

    Page 9 Revised 11/08

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