Plant Habitats Around the World

Object Type: Video Clip
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Plant Habitats Around the World

Students discover a wide variety of plants and the environments in which they live—desert, tundra, forests, mountains, etc. They will investigate and understand that plants have life needs (food, air, water, light, and a place to grow) and see how they fulfill these needs in these different climates.

Explore the environments of the desert, tundra, forests, and mountains and understand that plants have life needs they fulfill in different climates.

  1. Students will understand that all types of plants prefer certain amounts of sunlight, food, and water.
  2. Students will realize that plants grow from a seed or a bulb with the help of food, water, sunlight, and air.
  3. Students will know the many different plant habitats around the world, and be able to identify plants from each habitat.
    1. The desert habitat is very dry. Therefore, plants that live in the desert must store water. These plants, which include cactus, aloe, and yucca, are called succulents. In addition to storing water, succulents have adapted to their environment by developing tiny hairs to protect against the heat and by growing thorns to protect against thirsty animals.
    2. Low-lying areas of water and humid air are characteristic of the swamp habitat. This environment is hospitable to many kinds of plant life, including mangrove trees, water lettuce, water lilies, and water hyacinths.
    3. The sea habitat supports forms of plant life like seaweed and kelp.
    4. Valleys usually exist between two mountain ranges and are characterized by warm, sunny weather and nutrient rich soil. In the valleys of Hawaii, pineapple is typically grown; in the valleys of Japan, rice is grown; in the California valley, cotton, melons, and strawberries are grown. Valleys are great habitats for cultivating crops.
    5. Mountains are masses of land that rise to high altitudes. Most mountains can support large forests; however, if a mountain is in an arctic zone, forests may give way to frozen tundra. Although the climate at the tops of mountains can be very harsh, the base of a mountain supports trees, ferns, and mosses because of the moisture from rain, snow runoff, and fog.
    6. Tundra is windy, dry, and bitterly cold; so cold that snow can sometimes be found all year-round. Although this climate makes it difficult for plants to survive, in some tundra regions there is a brief thaw that melts the snow and gives way to a few kinds of mosses, lichens, and grasses.
    7. Warm coastal mountains and seaside areas near the equator are called tropics. The tropics are very warm and moist; these excellent conditions allow many plants to thrive. Trees, ferns, and flowers live in the tropics.
    8. Jungles and rainforests have very wet and usually warm climates. A jungle is like a wall of plants tangled together. Rainforests contain many trees growing close together. Many trees, mosses, and low-lying plants, which enjoy living in the shade of trees, live in rainforests. In both jungles and rainforests, plants crowd each other, competing for light and space. Many jungles and rainforests can be found in Africa, India, South America, and Central America.
  4. Students will understand that people around the world grow gardens and farms for food. Other gardens are used to provide aesthetic beauty.
  5. Students will know the many means of plant reproduction. Plant seeds travel by wind and animal. Many creatures carry seeds in their bodies and drop them as waste. Bees and butterflies spread the pollen of one plant to another.
  6. Students will realize that plants change throughout the year.
    1. In the fall, the chlorophyll in plants fades, revealing other colors. Plants shed their leaves, which are no longer needed, in preparation for winter. Some plants only live for a season and die in the fall. These dead plants decay, providing nutrients for other plants.
    2. In the winter, many small plants are dead and others remain dormant. Certain plants, evergreens, stay green during the winter.
    3. In the spring, moist air, rain, and sunlight cause plants to grow by releasing nutrients into the soil and allowing plants to photosynthesize.
    4. During the summer, plants are at the height of their growth.

  1. Before viewing the video

    1. Anticipatory set: Ask children to tell everything they know about plants. List what they say on the board. The list may include kinds of plants, parts of plants, how we use them, where we find them, and what they need to grow. Mention some of the above ideas if class suggestions lag. Next take the class on a nature hunt in the playground. Each child should collect one plant sample (leaf, flower, grass, weed, etc.). See if anything can be added to the class list using the gathered samples. Then watch the film and check off everything on the list that is mentioned on the video.
  2. After viewing the video

    1. Plant Part Art: Bring in some firm vegetables (potato, celery, carrot, beet) and cut them in half. Put several colors of thick tempera paint in pie pans and have children make creative stamp prints with the vegetables. Experiment with fruits, leaves and roots.
    2. What Kind of Plant: Have each child bring in one kind of leaf to school. If preferred, the teacher may bring the leaves to school to ensure a wide variety. Hold up one leaf at a time to see if the class knows what kind of plant it comes from. Put the leaves into two piles: Known and Unknown. Sort the leaves according to shape, then size, then color, etc. Review the video looking for different kinds of leaves.
    3. My Favorite Plant Around the World: Have children tell which part of the world they enjoyed seeing the most. Then ask them to look for a favorite plant to draw and write (or tell) about after watching the video again. Have children label their pictures and put the pictures on a bulletin board labeled, Plants Around the World. Ask the librarian for books about plants for reinforcement.