Sunday, August 29, 2010

Intro to Botany

Since it was my turn to choose a science topic, we've been learning about botany. We started with the first two chapters in Exploring Creation with Botany. The first chapter is mostly about classifications of plants and lots of definitions. The kids wrote some of the terms down in their notebook for copywork. I made some picture cards for them to practice classifying vascular and nonvascular, angiosperms and gymnosperms, and seedless vascular plants. (If anybody can tell me how to share files made on microsoft word or tell me about another free easy program for sharing files, I would be happy to share.)

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(click to enlarge)

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Then they went out and found examples of the different kinds of plants and drew them in their nature journal.
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Chapter two is all about seeds. I made some monocot/dicot cards for sorting. In addition to the projects in the book (which involve beans, scientific speculation sheets, and graphing), we did three projects out of the book, Science Projects About Plants, which I found at the library.
1.Weigh several bean seeds. Soak them in water overnight, then weigh again. Shows how well seeds drink up water to begin germination.
2.Soak about 30 bean seeds overnight. Split open the soaked beans and carefully remove the embryos with your thumb nail. Arrange a folded paper towel on a small plant and put a few of the embryos on top. Repeat so that you have five plates of bean embryos. Label one salt, one sugar, one cornstarch, one honey, and one plain water. Put a cup of water into each of 5 jars. Into one jar, pour 1 tsp salt and label. Repeat with the other substances, except the starch. The teaspoon of starch must be sprinkled directly onto the paper towel, since the starch will not dissolve in the water. The jar labeled starch will have only water in it. Pour a little of each solution onto the corresponding embryos, saturating the paper towel. Cover with plastic wrap to slow evaporation but not so tightly that air can't get to the embryos. Put lids on your jars. Don't let your embryos dry out - water them a couple times a day with the appropriate solution. By removing the seeds' cotyledons, you have deprived the embryos of their food source. This experiment allows you to find what kind of substance the embryos need to grow. (It's starch.)
3.Grow 3 groups of bean seeds. (All the same kind of seeds.) When they sprout, clip both cotyledons off one group, one cotyledon off each sprout in the second group, and leave the remaining group untouched. Once the seed has sprouted, does it still need its original food source, or is it able to draw enough nourishment from the soil and sun immediately?
We're still waiting for our bean seeds to sprout. We'll let you know how it goes.

5 comments:

  1. Such an interesting botany lesson - a beautiful way to learn with nature!

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  2. We're doing botany here this year as well--and I'm not nearly as excited about it as you are! :) It's not something I know anything about--I barely know the difference between an oak tree and a maple!! Wanna come combine our children and you can teach??? :)

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  3. Very interesting, love the look of your blog, I am looking forward to explore more.
    :) Christina

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  4. Shonya, sure - sounds like fun! I don't know much either. I've already learned a lot!

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  5. What lucky children to study outside and connect pictures with real nature. I am now a follower.

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