Activity

Root shapes

Summary
Look at different plant roots to see how their shapes vary, and discuss how this might be adaptations for getting water in different ways.
Science content
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)
Lessons activity is in
Materials
  • different plants/weeds, with roots intact, washed free of soil - or provide students with tools and water to dig up and wash roots themselves
Procedure

Lay out the plants for students to see.
Provide activities and discussion around root shapes and functions:
Sort the plants by root length.
Discuss how the longer roots might be able to get water from further down than the shorter roots. Discuss how the widely branched roots might be able to gather water from further sideways. Discuss how each kind of root anchors the plant in the soil.
Draw some differing root shapes.

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Teaching site
Gordon Elementary Science Club