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Lesson Title: Light Effects on Plant Behavior
May 11, 2012

Unit: Life Science - Plants

Grade Levels: 4-6

Connection To Curriculum: Science and Mathematics

Teacher Prep Time: 2.5 hours for all three activities

Lesson Time Needed: 4 hours initial setup in class for all three activities:
Activity 1 = 4 days, Activity 2 = 3 days and Activity 3 = 4 hours

Complexity Moderate

Keywords: adaptation, gravitropism, photosynthesis, survival, phototropism, light waves

Materials:

Activity 1 Phototropism: Do Plants Prefer the Blues?
Black film can with lid, 35 mm
One floral foam disc, 28 mm in diameter and 2- to 4-mm thick
Three grid strips, 0.5 by 4 cm (page 49)
Three wick strips, 1 by 4.5 cm, made of soft paper toweling (page 49)
Three brassica or other medium-sized seeds (turnip, lettuce or alfalfa)
Water bottle
Forceps to handle seed
Hand-held hole punch
Clear adhesive tape, 2-cm wide
Black vinyl electrical tape, 2-cm wide
Three 1.5-cm squares, 1 each of red, green and blue transparent plastic mylar (Roscolux® films red #26, green #89 and blue #69 work well) or colored acetate from art stores or theatre departments
Activity 2 Phototropism: How Little Light Will Bend a Seedling?
Four black film cans with lids, 35 mm
Four floral foam discs, 28 mm diameter and 2-to 4-mm thick
Four grid strips, 0.5 by 4 cm (page 43)
Four wick strips, 1 by 4.5 cm, made of soft paper toweling (page 43)
Four brassica or other similar-sized seeds (turnip, lettuce or alfalfa)
Water bottle
Forceps to handle seed
Clear adhesive tape, 2-cm wide
Black vinyl electrical tape, 2-cm wide
Scissors
Four 1.5-cm squares of aluminum foil
Fine needles or pencil point for making holes in aluminum
Dissection strips (page 23)
Hand lens
Hand-held hole punch
Small plastic protractor or Tropism Response Measuring Card (page 90)
Activity 3 Can Photosynthesis Occur on Saturn?
Two plastic funnels of the same size and shape (The maximum diameter of the funnels needs to be just enough smaller than the internal diameter of the cups listed below so that the funnels will rest just inside the cup's rim.)
Two plastic or glass cups that have a slightly larger inner diameter than the funnels' outer diameter
Two rubber bands
Two clear drinking straws (a bubble in water in the straw must be visible)
Plastic cling food wrap
Salt (1/4 teaspoon for each setup)
Baking soda (1/4 teaspoon for each setup)
Water
 

Description
This lesson integrates a series of activities, which investigate the principals of photosynthesis and effects of light on plants. Students gain a better understanding of plant behavior and learn how to apply the scientific method.

Objectives
Students will:
• Design their own experimental equipment to carry out a series of simple experiments.
• Investigate how red, green and blue visible wavelengths affect growth functions.
• Apply simple geometry to determine light quantity.
• Apply the scientific method (prediction, observation, etc.).
• Interpret complex interactions involving three variables.
• Investigate basic principle of photosynthesis and how light intensity, distance and wavelengths affect plant growth.


Front Page of Light Effects and Plant Behavior

Lesson Guide
Light Effects on Plant Behavior
[376KB PDF file]

 

 

Professional Development Training Module for This Lesson

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Lesson Activities and Sequence

  1. Teachers and Students Investigating Plants in Space Educator Guide
    Phototropism: Do Plants Prefer the Blues?, page 86
    Activity illustrates how plants use various colors (wavelengths) of light for different tasks.
    Keywords: adaptation, gravitropism, photosynthesis, survival, phototropism, light waves

  2. Teachers and Students Investigating Plants in Space Educator Guide
    Phototropism: How Little Light Will Bend a Seedling?, page 88
    Investigate the effects of light quantity on the bending of seedlings.
    Keywords: adaptation, gravitropism, photosynthesis, survival, phototropism, light waves

  3. NASA Educational Brief: Cassini Science Investigation
    Can Photosynthesis Occur on Saturn?
    Activity teaches the basic principle of photosynthesis and how light intensity diminishes as a function of distance from the light source. Observations are made over an extended period, although the activity setup may take place in a shorter period of time.
    Keywords: adaptation, gravitropism, photosynthesis, survival, phototropism, light waves

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Understanding of scientific concepts.
• An appreciation of 'how we know' what we know in science.
• The dispositions to use the skills, abilities and attitudes associated with science.
Physical Science
• Properties of objects and materials.
• Position and motion of objects.
Science and Technology
• Abilities of technological design.
• Understanding science and technology.

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, NCTM
Operations and Algebraic Thinking
• Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems.
• Analyze patterns and relationships.
Measurement and Data
• Represent and interpret data.
• Geometric measurement: understand concepts of angle and measure angles.
Ratios and Proportional Relationships
• Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.
Statistics and Probability
• Develop understanding of statistical variability.


 

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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator