Objectives: Students will discover
how plant morphological features become characteristic to specific
Related Web-Activity: Rooted
Subjects: Geography, Ecology, Biology,
ELRS:Science 1.2, 1.3; Arts 2.1 -
Setting: Inside or outside
Duration: One class period
Materials: Four large sheets of paper,
markers and coloring materials
Teachers, divide your students into four groups. Have each group
choose one of the life zones described under "Habitat Key"
in the Zone into Life activity.
Each group should have a different life zone.
Instruct your students on the concept of morphologiesthe
physical characteristics that plants and animals haveand how
similar morphologies are characteristic to species of plants that
live in similar life zones or perform similar functions.
Examples of characteristic morphologies are:
plants are common under dense-canopied forests.
- Cushion-type plants are common in cold, windy environments,
such as alpine.
- Plants with sprawling root systems are common on ever-moving
- Thin, pointy, flexible trees are common in environments that
receive abundant snowfall, such as subalpine firs.
First, have each group draw their habitat type on their paper.
Next, ask each group to create an imaginary plant that survives
within the challenges of their habitat. The plant must have a root
system, stems, leaves, flowers, and the flowers must a smell; each
plant part must be uniquely designed for its habitat. The group
must name their plant.
Toward the end of the class period, each group will present their
habitat and specialized plant to the rest of the classroom. They
should explain how their plant is adapted to defend against environmental
If your class is capable, have them pass their posters to another
group. Groups should now create a pollinator that assists in the
reproduction of the new plant. The pollinator should be one that
is attracted to the plant's varied characteristics (primarily color
and flower smell). Pass the sheets again and have each group add
an herbivore into the poster that feeds on the special plant. Pass
the poster again (to the final group) and add seed movement strategy.
Have the poster returned to original owners and discuss what characteristics
they might add to the plant which might better attract a pollinator
and better defend it against herbivores.