A Library of Plants: Lesson Plan

Explain how the use, protection and conservation of natural resources impact the environment, including biodiversity, from one generation to the next, then learn how researchers in North Carolina are helping to conserve and preserve native plants by saving seeds in a long-term seed storage facility.

UNC-TV Media

Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • NCES.Bio.2.2.1 — Infer how human activities (including population growth, pollution, global warming, burning of fossil fuels, habitat destruction and introduction of nonnative species) may impact the environment. 
  • NCES.Bio.2.2.2 — Explain how the use, protection and conservation of natural resources by humans impact the environment from one generation to the next. 
  • NCES.EEn.2.7.2 — Explain why biodiversity is important to the biosphere. 
  • NCES.EEn.2.7.3 — Explain how human activities impact the biosphere.

Learning Outcomes

Time Allotment Needed: 5 days (block schedule)
  • Students will understand how the impact of human activities on the environment affects one generation to the next. 
  • Students will explain why biodiversity is important to the biosphere.
 

Essential Questions

  1. What is the biosphere? 
  2. What is biodiversity? 
  3. Why is biodiversity important to the biosphere? 
  4. How does the use of natural resources by humans impact the environment from one generation to the next? 
  5. How does protection and conservation of natural resources by humans impact the environment from one generation to the next?

Essential Vocabulary

  • Biosphere
  • Natural resources 
  • Hydrosphere 
  • Biodiversity 
  • Renewable resources 
  • Atmosphere 
  • Conservation 
  • Nonrenewable resource 
  • Sustainable use 
  • Sustainability
  • Lithosphere 
  • Pollution
  • Deforestation 
  • Reclamation 
  • Reforestation 
  • Bioremediation 
  • Global climate change

Engage

Students will watch What is biodiversity and why is it important? to learn more what biodiversity encompasses and why it is important. Students will then review the remaining vocabulary terms in pairs. They should record their definitions, then check them against a textbook or dictionary.

Explore

Divide the class into six groups. Assign one of Earth’s spheres (lithosphere, hydrosphere or atmosphere) to groups 1, 2 and 3, then do the same for groups 4, 5 and 6. Students will identify and gather information about how the use, protection and conservation of natural resources from one of Earth’s spheres impacts the environment from one generation to the next. Students will take notes as they work and complete research to answer the following questions.

  1. What natural resources are used from this sphere?
  2. How are they obtained? Does the process of obtaining the resources impact the environment? How? 
  3. How are these resources used? Does the use of these resources impact the environment? How? 
  4. How does the use of these resources affect biodiversity? 
  5. Why is biodiversity important to the biosphere? 
  6. How does the use of these resources affect current and future generations? 
  7. Can the resources be used sustainably? How? 
  8. How can the protection and conservation of these resources impact the environment for current and future generations? 
  9. Why is using resources sustainably important? 

Students can use the websites listed below as a starting point for their research. Encourage students to use other websites they are comfortable with but that are still reliable sources. Some websites may contain links to other pages that can be helpful. 

 

Explain

After students have completed their research in the Explore section, they will present the results of their research to their classmates. Groups 1, 2 and 3 will make presentations to each other and groups 4, 5 and 6 will do the same. Students can prepare a PowerPoint presentation or another form of their choice.

Extend

Researchers at the Bent Creek Germplasm Repository are working to preserve plants native to North Carolina by identifying, cataloguing and saving seeds in a long-term seed storage facility. Seed saving is becoming more important to future generations as plant species are going extinct at a rate higher than background extinction rates. Students will view the NC Science Now video The Library of Plants. After watching the video, students should answer the following questions. They can discuss their answers with a partner or in small groups. 

  1. What are researchers at the Bent Creek Germplasm Repository doing with plants? 
  2. What is the primary goal of the researchers at Bent Creek? 
  3. How are the goals of researchers at Bent Creek related to biodiversity and protecting biodiversity? 
  4. What is the importance of the fungi that grow inside the plants?  

Evaluate

Students will work independently to create a video for Grade 5 students. The video should contain the following information:

  • Define the terms biodiversity and biosphere and explain why biodiversity is important to the biosphere. 
  • Explain how the use of natural resources by humans impacts the environment, including biodiversity, for current and future generations. 
  • Define and explain the concepts of sustainability and sustainable use. 
  • Explain why it is important to use a resource sustainably. 
  • List and explain ways students can use resources sustainably and help promote the sustainable use of resources.

Evaluation Rubric