Scientists have learned to breed and engineer crops that can grow bigger and faster, and are disease resistant. But at what cost to our cultural and ecological diversity? Although there are certainly benefits to these advances, many experts are concerned that this focus on "engineered" plants has caused us to rely on too few species of crops and to lose vital genetic information available from naturally evolved plants. Another threat to "genetic diversity" is rapid deforestation, which destroys many wild species of plants.
Studying Purple Loosestrife Helps Students Identify Non-Native Species
"When my third graders asked a local naturalist to help them identify wild plants growing on our school grounds, we never imagined their query would lead to a long-term environmental action project," reports Minneapolis, MN, teacher Sherri Rogers.
"Exploring life in the river near our school intrigued my third and fourth graders," reports Waits River, VT, teacher Cheryl Ollman. "But, of course, the time for working outside is limited by our climate. When I discovered that a local educational group was experimenting with an indoor river simulation, I volunteered to test it out in my classroom."
Note: There are a number of agricultural products that have broad uses in our society. You may want to research a product that is particularly important in your state rather than using soybeans. Examples of other products that work well include wheat, corn, cotton and rice.
Students will: - Learn that soybeans are ingredients in a large number of common edible and non-edible products. - Learn how to read product labels and conduct research.
Students will: - Study the characteristics of a plant to come up with ideas about how it was used historically or is now used. - Discover that plants play an important role in history. - Learn about less obvious but important contributions plants make to their lives.
- Plants are a part of our daily lives. - Plants provide important economic products other than food and landscaping.
Water. All living things it need to live and thrive, making it one of our most valuable natural resources. Unfortunately, it's rapidly becoming one of the most endangered. Water shortages loom as growing cities and suburbs bring increased demands in concentrated areas, and droughts threaten various regions every year.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it's the perfect time to examine the relationship of the traditional harvest to wellbeing, and how kitchen gardens can be a catalyst for reversing the health crisis facing youth in our society.
Your school garden has fulfilled its promise of plenty, and the harvest has begun. Perhaps you're celebrating abundance by feasting on your delicious produce. But what happens when the harvest and feast are over?... When the plant's life cycle ends, or frost or heat preclude the garden's ability to bear, and the leftovers from your cornucopia are ready to eat NOW?