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Lesson Plan

Plants and herbivores

Make prints with plants to highlight their structure, and look at herbivore teeth and how they are adapted to eat plants
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)
Biology: Food Webs, Ecosystems, Biomes (3, 4)

Start with plant printing.
Ideal if students have collected their own plants to print with.
Include discussion of what the plant structures are that show up on the prints (xylem and phloem vessels).

All these structures are tough. Cellulose is the molecule that the walls of these vessels are made of, and is also in the walls of all the cells of the plant.

Who eats these leaves?

Leaves rot on the ground with the help of bacteria and fungi. The magnolia leaf skeleton shows where bacteria and fungi have digested away the thinner parts of the leaf. The thicker vessels are still there.

Animals that eat plants (herbivores), also eat the leaves. Herbivores can’t break down the cellulose. They have to smash open the cell walls to get to the sugars and other nutrients inside.
Look at the teeth of some herbivores. How do herbivores break open the cells? The molars here grind together to crush the plants and the cells. Show deer jaw next to skull to see how teeth fit together. Molar means “millstone”.

Grades taught: 
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6
Romy Cooper
Teaching Site: 
General Gordon Elementary