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Plant Rooting Strategies

Grade Level: 6-8

Introduction: Roots are critical for plant survival and ecosystem health. Cloud forests are no exception; however, roots come in many forms and in unexpected places. Students will use the Canopy in the Clouds panoramas to examine plants on the ground and in the canopy of the cloud forest. They will observe root structures of large and small terrestrial and aerial plants at different sites.  Students will also relate rooting strategies to nutrient availability.

Objectives: Students will be able to: (1) define “bryophyte”, “epiphyte”, “bromeliad”, and “hemi-epiphyte” and use these terms in appropriate contexts; (2) identify and describe the rooting strategies of a variety of plants in the cloud forest, (3) explain how the structure of a plant’s root system relates to its function and life history strategy.

National Science Standards: Structure and function in living systems (C); regulation and behavior (C); populations and ecosystems (C); diversity and adaptations of organisms (C); structure of the Earth system (D).

Time: 60 minutes (10 minutes for opening, 40 minutes for student handout, 10 minutes for closing)


Lesson Plan: PDF | DOC

Worksheets: PDF | DOC

Assessment: PDF | DOC

Related Plans:

  1. Soil Basics: Function and Variation
  2. Nutrient Cycling
  3. Microhabitats: The Habitat of the Rotting Log
  4. Water and Decomposition
  5. Plant Rooting Strategies

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