Plant Responses Gr. 5-6


This unit explores the way plants respond to changes in their environment. Plants don't move the way animals move. Plants respond by growing differently, usually towards the environmental change or away from it. Plant reponses are called tropisms. For teachers and parents who are really curious about how tropisms were discovered, there is a Website on the history of their discovery. They may also want to see Botany Online's page about geotropism, the response of plants to gravity.

TIP: ESP ships dry potting soil. To moisten the soil before use, place the plastic bag of soil in a bucket or sink. Open the bag a small amount at the top and run water into the bag directly from the tap. Let sit overnight.

TIP: What is the most common classroom problem when students are growing and studying plants? Over-watering! Containers used to grow plants in the classroom should always have drainage holes. If they don't, use a sharp pencil to poke 2 or 3 holes in the side of the container near the bottom. Then place the container on a tray to keep excess water from making a mess. Most plants should not be watered more than once a week.

There are many good general resources on the Internet for classes studying plants:

The National Gardening Association site has indoor and outdoor gardening resources. For resources more specifically tuned to upstate New York, visit Rochester Gardening.

Iowa State University Extension's Home Horticulture pages are also quite useful for indoor and outdoor gardening information. In fact, your Cooperative Extension Service has extensive resources on plants and other subjects.

Visit Plants in Motion to see time lapse movies of plants. Visit our Plant Adaptations page for more things to investigate. For a list of student trade books about plants click on the sub page - Books About Plants - on the left navigation.

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