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Abstract Detail


Blake-Mahmud, Jennifer [1], Adams/, Catrina [2].

Cool Leaves! Exploring leaf adaptation in outreach.

Students often consider plants uninteresting due to their general stationarity, yet plants do move and can interact with their environment in dynamic ways. As part of a larger outreach event on plant movement, we developed an outreach activity module that focuses on leaf movement across scales from large (whole plant) to small (movements of stomata and chloroplasts) and the ways leaves are adapted to different environments. We introduced the adaptations via demonstrations, videos, interactive working models, and microscope observation. We then invited students to play a game in which they found the “fortune” of their plant in specific environments, due in part to the leaf adaptations of their chosen plant compared with other neighboring plant species. Plants with competitive advantage in a given habitat (a winning fortune) were invited to add a picture of their plant to that habitat on large chart. Over time, different habitats selectively filled up with “winning” plants, emphasizing that some plants are better adapted to some habitats than they are to others.
The goals of the activity were (1) to allow visitors to link leaf adaptations in specific plant species to the environments where they thrive and where they can’t survive; (2) to understand that no leaf is perfect everywhere and that certain adaptations work in certain environments; (3) to encourage visitors to “think like a plant” and experience environments from the perspective of a particular plant and (4) to encourage observation of and wonder about leaf adaptation and plant competition in their everyday environment (parking lots, playgrounds, sidewalks).
While our target audience was students in grades three through nine in an informal science fair setting, we anticipate that this activity and suite of plant demonstrations could be useful in whole or in part as a multi-part classroom lesson or rainy-day science museum or nature center activity.

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1 - Rutgers University, Ecology, Evolution, And Natural Resources, 237 Foran Hall, 59 Dudley Rd, Cook Campus, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901-8551, USA
2 - Botanical Society of America, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO, 63166, USA

informal education
educational games
educational demonstrations.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 33, Teaching Section Papers Session II
Location: 101/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Time: 3:30 PM
Number: 33006
Abstract ID:862
Candidate for Awards:None

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