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During this lesson, students will observe and record the various effects of different durations of light on plants. Students will additionally be able to understand the common misconception that constant light on plants will result in constant growth of the plant.
This lesson was created as part of the 2016 NASA STEM Standards of Practice Project, a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
Primary Learning Objective(s):
Essential Question- What is the best amount of light to give a plant?
Additional Learning Objective(s):
Greater than 120 Minutes
Materials and Resources:
3 Plastic Cups (9 oz., Clear)
3 Plants (Grown Partially Already)
Water (Enough to Cover the Soil of 3 Plants)
Florescent Desk Lamp (to provide constant light)
*It is extremely important that the lamp you use is florescent, as it imitates sunlight the best of any type of artificial light available.
Access to a Sunlit Window
Access to Closet or Dark Space
Technology Resources Needed:
YouTube video- https://youtu.be/cX3Iev-JDgM
The teacher will need to have knowledge of and discuss with the students the basic needs of plants/the process of photosynthesis.
Discuss the basics of photosynthesis. Show the following video: https://youtu.be/cX3Iev-JDgM then discuss with the class.
Students will place plants in plastic cups. Plant one will be placed in a window where it will receive light during the day and no light at night.
The second plant will be placed under a desk lamp that will be left on 24 hours a day for the duration of the experiment.
The third plant will be placed in complete darkness (in a closet, cabinet, etc.)
All plants will be watered equally as needed. They will also need access to air.
Students will predict what effect they think each variable will have on the plants.
Students will draw a picture of each plant on "Monday" on handout 1 after students have observed each plant as a class.
Over the next two weeks students will observe the plants periodically. They will draw their findings on "Friday" of both weeks to record the changes.
Students will draw a picture of what each plant looks like on the final day using "Handout 1". Students will discuss what they found throughout the experiment. They will write why they think the amount of light has the effect that it does on the plants. Additionally, the teacher will discuss the effect that the amount of light has on photosynthesis to wrap the lesson up.
Informal Assessment: Teacher Observation, Questioning ("What happened to each plant?", "What are the differences in each plant?", "Why do you think that happened?")
Formative Assessment: Handout 1 (Directions Provided in Attached Handout)
Students could give each plant the same amount of light each day. They would use different color filters for each plant (colored plastic, color paddles, etc.) Students will then document the changes in Handout 1 over the course of two weeks.
Allow students who may struggle with this, or any other students, time to read various books about plants and plant needs. This will help them to develop an understanding of plant development.
Additionally, the teacher can use a review of the photosynthesis process through literature, as well as diagrams that help students visualize the process. In the "Technology Materials" section of this lesson plan there is a link where you can browse a few different materials that you can use for remediation of the process.