Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Desert Plant Adaptations

Adaptations are changes that happens over a long time which help organisms (plants or animals) survive in their environment. Adaptations can be behaviors or structures (parts) of the organism.
Plant examples: shape of leaves, thorns, spines, thickness of stems/leaves

Procedure
  • Introduce/review the definition of adaptations with the students.
  • Discuss the desert climate.
  • Ask students the following question. "What behaviors or structures of desert plants help them survive in their environment?" (structures: stems, leaves, spines, roots)
  • What types of stems and leaves help desert plants survive? (Thick stems/leaves and waxy-coated stems/leaves help keep in water.)  (Sharp spines keep animals away.)

Try the following experiments.

Experiment 1 (Thick stems/leaves vs. thin stems/leaves)




  • Give each student/group 1 thin and 1 thick sponge.
  • Put each on a dish.
  • Pour equal amounts of water on each sponge.
  • Squeeze each sponge into a cup.
  • Compare.
  • Which sponge held more water?

Experiment 2 (Waxy coating vs. non-waxy coating) 





  • Give each student/group 2 sponges (the same size).
  • Place each on a dish.
  • Pour the same amount of water over each sponge.
  • Place 1 of the sponges in a zip-lock bag.
  • Squeeze each sponge into a cup.
  • Compare.
  • Which sponge held more water? (The plastic bag represents the waxy outer covering.)

10 comments:

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