In this lesson students will have the opportunity to explore Arctic plants with one of the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN) scientists. Students will meet the scientist, learn about her career and research methods, and explore some of the collection of Arctic plants found at the museum. Through their explorations students will develop an understanding of the biological mechanisms that allow plants to survive in Arctic conditions.
In what ways have Arctic plants developed in order to maximize success in the Arctic climate?
1 class period (could be shortened or extended depending on use of adaptations, enrichments, and extensions)
This lesson will cover a selection of Arctic plants and look at the adaptations that the plants have made with respect to their environment. It would be helpful for students to have a basic background in some of the terminology related to plant structure and function.
Bring in a variety of plants or plant specimens and discuss aspects of the plants structures that reflect their natural environment (for example succulents can store large amounts of water because they grow in arid regions).
On the Expedition Arctic website, students will go through the “Team” link and select Jennifer Doubt in order to learn about Life at the Top of the World. While exploring the page by following along with Jennifer, have students write down observations and reflections. Have students think about the following:
Think-Pair-Share (Students are given time to think about their response to a specific question or topic, pair up with a partner and discuss, and then share their collective thoughts with the class or another pair).
Have a class discussion based around reflection questions.
Split into small groups and create a poster answer to guiding question using flipchart paper.
Use a SMART Board to explore the site as a class, in part or in whole.
Have students work in pairs.
Explore more specimens through the “Collection” link on the Expedition Arctic webpage.
Look at pictures and videos of Arctic landscapes using the “Expedition” link.
Expand the activity by using Lesson 2: Explorations in Science to guide learning about scientist’s careers to fulfill career expectations of science curriculum.
Link this lesson to the closer examination of Arctic food webs and trophic structures using Lesson 3: Arctic Food Webs.
Explore Arctic marine organisms using Lesson 4: Arctic Aquatic Life.
Link this lesson to the geology of the Arctic over time using Lesson 6: The Age of Ice
Learn about fossil records and what Arctic fossils can teach us with Lesson 7: Ancient Arctic.
Explore how changes in the global climate are affecting the Arctic, and how these changes affect the rest of the world in Lesson 8: Changing Climate.