The Moving World of Plants

When you think of plants, movement probably isn’t a word that comes to mind first. That’s what the students in Room 11 thought, too.

As part of the inquiry  “Moving our Learning,” students set out to discover all the ways plants grow and move all around us.

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Room 11 began with a brainstorm, thinking of as many ways they thought plants could move. It was quite challenging at first because the class wasn’t sure of many ways that plants moved.

Kiara said Plants are still because they’ve got roots - they don’t move much

Jack said Some flowers move with the sun - like sunflowers.

Information in Our Own Words

Room 11 then read a variety of resources, each tasked with researching some specific terms involved in plant movement. They did this by remembering what we learned about paraphrasing, or putting the information in our own words. The students were given an information card about a particular concept or word that is associated with plants. 

They then remembered the “three R’s:” Read (no clarification needed), Remove (you can’t see the original information, you can only remember it) and Restate (saying what you remember and only the most important ideas.) This helped the students understand how following a process can make it easier to state the information in their own words and see how much they understand about the topic.

The students then tested this by being the expert on their little topic, and the student who could learn the most information from their peers won the game of bingo.

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The Scientific Process

Students then finally had an opportunity to experiment and see for themselves the different ways that plants can grow.

Each student chose an example of an experiment that could be done, looking at different ways plants move. They wrote a question that could be investigated. Examples included:

  • Do plants conduct electricity? 
  • Do they grow faster when music is played to them? 
  • Do plants grow the same in both soil and in sand? 
  • Do they move more with coffee, just like people?

Each student now had a question and from this used an “if, then, because” format to form a hypothesis.

Juno thought, If a pansy is planted in sand, then it won’t grow as well because there are more nutrients in the sand.

Following writing their hypotheses, the students then set out to test it by measuring and observing daily to see whether their hypothesis was correct or not.

An important point the students thought about was that it is ok when the hypothesis is wrong. It shows that the experiment has proved your hypothesis incorrect, and you can learn a lot from it.

Dali, Emma, Kiara, Jessie and Bianca decided that they wanted to find out whether electricity would affect a plant's growth, and whether the plants conduct electricity. They used an LED light and a battery either side of a leaf to transmit electricity through the plant. 

Electricity gets rid of the germs on the plant which helps the plant grow. 

Plants have 80 to 95% of water in them and water has minerals that conduct electricity so to put it simply - yes, plants do conduct electricity. - Dali Cowie

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Josef, Hector, Declan and Te Omeka  wondered whether coffee might make a plant grow faster.

Hector wondered, If coffee makes humans go fast, then I’m sure plants will do the same

Throughout the week, the boys measured and recorded their results, comparing a pot of pansies without any coffee, also known as a control, and two other pots. One with dry coffee powder sprinkled in the soil and one with coffee powder dissolved in water.

Josef found that Yes. It [the coffee] helps it grow taller but it makes it weaker and gives the plant holes and makes it droop.

We’ve all felt that before…

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The students found that while at first, plants didn’t seem to move, if you look a little closer, they actually don’t stop moving! 

In Room 11, our learning won’t stop, either.

Keywords: Science, Plants, Research, Experiments

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