Problem Solver: Teaching Tropismsby: Marvin N. Tolman and Garry R. Hardy

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Plants are found in most locations in the world and have the remarkable ability to capture and store energy from sunlight. Without the green plant’s ability to carry out the process we call photosynthesis, Earth would be a lifeless, barren planet. “It is this characteristic that makes them (plants) so important, for they, and they alone, provide the food-energy resources on which all other living things depend” (Wilkins, 1988). This article provides some activities that teach elementary students about plant tropisms.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (3)
  • on Tue Sep 23, 2014 4:55 PM

Elementary students are encouraged to observe and track the different stimuli that cause plants to move. These are called tropisms. These authors describe how to setup activities that allows students to observe and record plant motion caused by the following: hydrotropism, chemotropism, phototropism, geotropism, and thigmotropism in their classroom. Recording methods are also provided. The authors point out that these experiments may not provide expected results but that experiments are experimental. These seem like great, simple learning experiences for students in elementary classrooms.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:58 PM

This article presents some interesting ideas to expand using plants for students to apply the scientific process and to understand the response of plants to their environments. The authors present many different type of tropisms, and how a teacher can create the tropism for students to study. This article adds many ideas to the study of seed growth and will be an excellent source for inquiry in the elementary classroom.

Angelika Fairweather  (Bradenton, FL)
Angelika Fairweather (Bradenton, FL)

  • on Wed May 25, 2011 11:22 PM

Sometimes we forget about the simple things that we can do to introduce inquiry into our curriculum. Very simple ideas to get kids thinking about why plants behave as they do, and sets the stage for kids to ask questions. Several simple activity ideas are included, and could be adapted for older children in middle school. Could go into more extensions and standards. Modern standards not identified.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)

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