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Asexual Reproduction in Plants Activities & Games

Instructor: Rachel Tustin

Dr. Rachel Tustin has a PhD in Education focusing on Educational Technology, a Masters in English, and a BS in Marine Science. She has taught in K-12 for more than 15 years, and higher education for ten years.

Asexual plant reproduction can be a challenging topic for teachers for many reasons, from the content itself to the length of time it takes plants to grow. However, with a little planning and ingenuity, we can make it an engaging topic for students.

Teaching Asexual Plant Reproduction

Students often have experience with asexual plant reproduction; they just may not have called it that. Most can probably recall a time when they found a potato growing in their refrigerator or cabinet, or you can show them an example! However, sometimes the time it takes to grow plants becomes a roadblock to our teaching. Yet, there are plenty of creative ways to teach students about asexual plant reproduction if we plan ahead and use our creativity!

Hypothesizing Plant Reproduction

Plant reproduction, let alone asexual plant reproduction, can be an uninteresting topic to students. In reality, most plants grow and reproduce very slowly. So if you're trying to show plant reproduction in real time, there are very few plants that are practical for that experiment. However, if you bring in multiple sources of evidence for students to use, they can easily hypothesize how plants reproduce asexually.

Materials:

  • examples (actual plants or photos) of plants that reproduce asexually to use in class including strawberry plants, pictures of various types of trees (especially the roots, if visible), onions, various flower bulbs, and potatoes
  • pictures of each plant at different stages in its life cycle
  • large pieces of chart paper or butcher paper
  • crayons or markers

Directions:

  1. Divide the class into groups.
  2. Give each group a different example of a plant and ask them to hypothesize how that plant reproduces. Have each student write their hypothesis at the top of their chart paper.
  3. Go around the room and have each group share their hypothesis.
  4. Now give each group the set of pictures of the plant at each stage of its life cycle. Have students create a list of evidence they can observe that might relate to how the plant reproduces. Encourage them to gather as much evidence as possible.
  5. Have each group review their evidence and organize it into a t-chart. On the left side should be evidence that they feel supports their hypothesis, and on the right side should be evidence that doesn't support it (or seems to be unrelated). They could also have no evidence to support their hypothesis, and that's okay.
  6. Allow each group to record a second version of their hypothesis at the bottom of their chart paper if they think the first was incorrect.
  7. Post the chart papers around your classroom and do a gallery walk with students giving each other feedback.
  8. Go back to each plant and discuss how it reproduces, using each team's chart as a point of reference. You can typically find a video that shows how each plant grows and reproduces on YouTube.

You can keep strawberry plants year round in your classroom with hanging baskets.
strawberry

Garden Reproduction Game

Materials:

  • poster board
  • index cards
  • markers
  • glue
  • construction paper
  • dice
  • small objects to use for player pieces

Creating the Game:

  1. Have students work in small groups to create a set of questions about asexual plant reproduction. It should include basic terminology and as many examples of plants that reproduce asexually as possible.
  2. Have students create some hazard cards. These might include things like, ''Oh no! You don't belong in our garden. You need a bee to reproduce. Go back three spaces.'' This will allow students to exercise their creativity, and some of the knowledge they already have on the topic.
  3. Have students create some fun bonus cards to use to move ahead three spaces.
  4. Have students design their game board, so they have to get from one end of the garden to another. It should be sort of like a maze to make it more challenging. They can also put some ''Go back to start!'' spaces on their board, if they wish.

Playing the Game:

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