1. Non-flowering plants likely to be found in the local environment include things like lichens, mosses, algae and ferns. Bracken and mosses, found in many places are probably the easiest to find.
Lichen and algae tend not to grow on the bark of trees in urban areas because they are very sensitive to air pollution and are often used as an indicator of the extent of pollution in an area. (See Teaching Note on Lichens) If your school is in an inner city area, perhaps someone who lives out of town could bring in some tree bark with lichens on.
At this stage, the children would not be expected to identify individual types of non-flowering plants but should be able to know a fern or moss or if possible a lichen.
Lichens are very hardy organisms and can survive in some of the hottest and coldest places on earth. Their bodies consist of fungal threads and minute algae living together in an intricate partnership. They are tough and dry and grow very slowly.
One group of lichens form crusty coatings on rocks and other surfaces. These have no obvious leaves and look like small flat plates.
Dog lichens grow cup and saucer like leaf arrangements in grey and can be found on sand dunes and in grassy places.
Xanthoria species form yellow or greeny grey leafy patches on roofs, tree trunks and walls.
Cladonia species are known as ‘pixie cup’ varieties -growing tiny cup-like structures from grey green leafy clusters. They grow on moorland and other areas of peaty soil.
Usnea species form tangled clumps of trailing stems and are known as the ‘beard’ lichens.
2. Flowering plants are much more familiar although there is a much greater variety. There are two main groups -
a) Monocotyledons - their leaves have parallel veins and are long and straight e.g. daffodil, tulip etc.
b) Dicotyledons - the broad leaved plants with veins forming a branching pattern e.g. pea, bean, daisy, oak etc.
The children would not be expected to know those terms but simply that there are two main groups of plants. The names refer to the existence of ‘seed leaves’ inside the seeds.
Worksheet D22a (G) could help to consolidate the wider view of plants given in this lesson by drawing an example in each box.
The children could press flowers onto worksheet D22bG) and then cover with sticky transparent film to preserve their samples. A second worksheet could be made using non-flowering plants.
DON'T CHEAT NOW!
We were doing a science lesson on how plants grow. The children all got a chance to plant their own seeds. As the teacher I planted a few extra seeds for the children whose plants do not sprout. After a few weeks of watching them I secretly exchanged a few. The next day one of my students said "Look teacher, it's a miracle, my plant is growing". I said "Yes, seeds sprouting is very exciting". He said," No teacher, that's not the miracle, I ATE the SEED and it is growing anyway!"