PLANTS AND YOUR ENVIRONMENT

Objectives:

  1. To identify how light, water, soil
    and air effect plant growth.

  2. To identify how light, water, soil
    and air relate to one another.

Doug and Sammy D.'s Adventure

Doug, NASA'S newest astronaut, recently traveled to the planet Mars to conduct some official experiments. While exploring the planet he discovers a mysteriously strange plant that can walk and talk and whose name is the Famous Sammy D. Sammy D. is an extremely famous and cool plant and would like to share his charm with the plants on planet Earth. So pack your bags, fasten your seatbelts, and come aboard to enjoy the adventures of Doug and the Famous Sammy D.

Sammy D. - Hey Doug, my cool man, what is planet earth like, dude?

Doug - Oh Sammy D. you will love Earth. There is lots of fun things to do and the weather in Texas is great! Oops, we hit some air waves Sammy D. We will be landing in Texas in a matter of moments.

Sammy D - OOOOOHHH!!! Hey Dude.. Easy on the bumps.. You are dealing with a celebrity plant. Wow! Check this out! I am growing like crazy. What is going on here? My muscles are looking even more splendid than usual.

Doug - Well Sammy D. the reason that you are growing is because of the sun's rays. On Mars you probably have not seen the sun in a long time. Well, now you are going to be able to "soak up" all that wonderful energy!

Sammy D - Yeah, Doug, but how does the sun do it?

Doug - Plants have a pigment called chlorophyll. It's the stuff that makes you green. Well anyway the sun's light strikes the chlorophyll and combines with the carbon dioxide from the air to make your body food. This process is c alled photosynthesis.

Sammy D. - Well, I guess since we do not get a lot of light and the air is poisonous on Mars that is why I did not grow very much.

Doug - You got it, Sammy D.

It is three days later and Sammy D. is out on the beach soaking up the sun's rays. He is wanting to really impress all of the plants on the beach with his large stems and leaves. But today, Sammy D. is not feeling too well.

Doug - Hey Sammy D. the sun has really made you grow, but you do not look very perky today.

Sammy D. - Doug, something is really wrong here. I have been outside for only a little while and my leaves are sagging. This is bad for my cool image, dude.

Doug - Sammy D.,What have you had to drink today?

Sammy D. - Nothing, just been soaking up the rays.

Doug - Well, Sammy D., here on planet Earth, plants need water to survive. Water is very important because it is needed to keep your leaves and stems firm and stiff and stop you from sagging. Water is also important because it carries your food throughout your body.

Sammy D. - Hey Doug, get me a big ole glass of thirst quenching water.

Doug - So, how do you like living in Texas?

Sammy D. - It is maahvalus and I just love this life on the beach. I think I will make this beach my permanent home now.

Doug - Oh, but Sammy D. I do not think that will work because the soil is not good for you.

Sammy D. - What's the problem?

Doug - Soil is make up of minerals and organic matter and is the source of all your nutrients. In soils that have lots of sand, like the beach, there are lots of spaces between the particles. When water is added to this soil it travels there very quickly and you cannot soak it up. But, if you were in a soil that contained clay you could soak up water just like a sponge. You need a good mix of sand and clay in your soil to grow really well.

Sammy D. - I got this planet Earth deal figured out Doug. I know that plants like me need light, air, water and great soil to stay fit and totally irrestible.