Exploring the Wonder of Plants

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Learning Objects (11)

Direct Access Links:

Virtual Tour of Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London (Kew)
Kew Gardens: Trees that Pre-Date the Dinosaurs (Kew)
Visit The Millenium Seed Bank in Sussex, England (Kew)
Kew 2017 State of the Plants Report (Kew)
Warmer Temperatures Speed Tropical Plant Growth (Smithsonian)
Decoding the Mathematical Secrets of Plants (Smithsonian)
The Hidden Beauty of Pollination (TED)
Photographing the Beauty of Plants (Kew)
Identify Threats to Plants & Design a Board Game (Kew)
Kew: Learning at Home (Kew)
Mathematics and Native Hawaiian Plants (University of Hawaii)

Overview

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London and Sussex, England is a wealth of beauty, wonder and science. Explore its beauty on virtual tours and discover how to photograph that beauty on your own! Delve into the secret world of plants with Smithsonian and immerse yourself in an awesome dance of pollination in a TED video. Build a board game, identify plants and patterns, and graph your findings with some math!

 

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Virtual Tour of Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London

Roam the gardens from the comfort of your home. If you can’t get to the gardens, let us bring the gardens to you. Travel to the tropics, the desert and the mountains without leaving the house with our seasonal footage and a sneak peek at our glasshouses across Kew and Wakehurst.

Kew Gardens: Trees that Pre-Date the Dinosaurs

Our ancient Ginkgo biloba (aka maidenhair tree) is one of the oldest and most extraordinary trees in our Gardens. One of the Garden’s oldest trees, is a Ginkgo planted in the early botanic garden started by Princess Augusta, the mother of King George III, in 1759. The oldest recorded maidenhair tree is a whopping 3,500 years old. The Ginkgo species is the sole survivor of an ancient group of trees that date back to before dinosaurs roamed the Earth – creatures that lived between 245 and 66 million years ago.

Visit The Millenium Seed Bank in Sussex, England

Kew’s global seed banking network, the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (MSBP), is the largest plant conservation program in the world. The Bank has the capacity to house 75 per cent of the world’s storable seeds and is currently home to over 2.3 billion seeds, representing over 40,000 different species. Kew has published scientific reports on the State of the World’s Plants. In 2017 the focus was on plant life faced with the threat of extinction and plants of most use for the future.  The report observes that 21% of global plant species are threatened with extinction. The seeds Kew saves are conserved in seed banks as an insurance against the risk of extinction in their native habitat. Read about the science and access the report here Kew 2017 State of the Plants Report.

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Warmer Temperatures Speed Tropical Plant Growth

Traditional thinking is that during the day, plants undergo photosynthesis, capturing carbon and at night, they undergo respiration, losing carbon. The difference between the two governs the growth of the plant. New preliminary research seriously challenges that rather simplistic understanding of respiration.

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Decoding the Mathematical Secrets of Plants

To the untrained eye, plants may appear to grow rather impulsively, popping out leaves at random to create one big green jumble. Take a closer look, though, and you’ll find that a few curiously regular patterns pop up all over the natural world, from the balanced symmetry of bamboo shoots to the mesmerizing spirals of succulents.

 

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The Hidden Beauty of Pollination

Pollination: it’s vital to life on Earth, but largely unseen by the human eye. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us the intricate world of pollen and pollinators with gorgeous high-speed images from his film “Wings of Life,” inspired by the vanishing of one of nature’s primary pollinators, the honeybee.

 

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Photographing the Beauty of Plants

Freedom to travel and access to nature may be limited at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy nature photography. Whether in your garden, on your balcony or even around your indoor plants, you can still capture stunning photos of plants at home. Kew Royal Botanic Gardens shares tips for beautiful plant photography. Try it out yourself!

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Identify Threats to Plants & Design a Board Game

Activity – Grades 2-5

Imagine you’ve just secured your dream job as a games designer making educational games! Your first client, Kew Gardens, wants to make people more aware of why many plants are threatened. They would like you to develop a game based on threats to temperate plants. Find the answers & help here.

For more educational activities and games regarding plants, explore Kew’s Learning at Home resources.

 

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Mathematics and Native Hawaiian Plants

Elementary Lesson Plan – Grades 3-5

Engage in nature, photograph your findings and do a little math at the same time! Identifying plants and flowers in nature, whether in Hawaii or any other locale, is an excellent way to teach students math skills, including identifying shapes, plotting factors, noting numbers such as the Fibonacci sequence and identifying other patterns. If students are knowledgeable about plants, they may be more inclined to help protect those that are endangered and, perhaps, even help them become reinstated and preserved in nature.

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Pedagogy

Ontology Tags Animals, Plants & Nature:  Insights & Conservation – (1) Nature in Our Midst (2) Endangered Species (3) Extinct Species | Arts & Entertainment: Impact of Technology – Technology based Art & Music |  STEM Research & Applications: Engineering Our World – STEM at Your Job

Search Terms  Media-Produced: Digital Content – Digital Photography | Challenging Problems: (1) Questions – (a) Build a Better World (b) Reveal the World (2) Themes – Conservation focused (3) Physical World – (a) Climate & Weather (b) Investigating Earth | Intended Learning Outcomes: (1) Critical Thinking – (a) Draw Analytic Conclusions (b) Model with Math (c) Solve Problems Innovatively  (2) Instilled Citizenship Values – Lifestyle Respecting Environmental Resources | Success Skills & Depth of Knowledge:  Cognitive Demand – (1) Logical or Mathematical (2) Visual or Spatial | CTEs & Disciplines: (1) Agriculture & Agribusiness (2) Energy, Environmental & Natural Resources (3) Food & Beverage (4) STEM Research & Applications (5) Biosystems Engineering (6) Multimedia (7) Algebra & Trigonometry (8)  Geometry (9) Biology