Guest Hollow’s Botany is totally revamped!

botany curriculumWe’ve updated our botany curriculum. This is our biggest overhaul, yet! Not only did I update the schedule links, I also totally revamped it with new books, videos, recipes, activities, and more. The updated version is appropriate for 6th grade through high school, with lots of new books added in for older students, and new, better titles added for all ages.

http://www.guesthollow.com/…/…/botany/botany_curriculum.html

Why study botany? I think botany is an overlooked topic that gets shoved into a chapter of biology and then forgotten. Plants affect and enrich so many parts of our lives! Our houses and clothes are made of plant materials. We eat plants. We enjoy their beauty. They provide us with medicines, fuel, perfume, dyes, paper and a variety of other products. They are tied to history and even our future. They are an integral part of our lives!

This course is for any student who has a love for nature and plants. It’s also perfect as a pre-biology course. Students will learn the science behind plants and to appreciate the myriad contributions plants make to our lives!

The goals for this course:

To understand many scientific concepts concerning plants
To understand and appreciate many practical applications of plants
To learn how to identify many different plants, flowers and trees
To learn some history and geography as it pertains to specific plants or plant discoveries
To be involved in the natural world on a more frequent basis
To hone observation skills, nurture an interest in the natural world and encourage reflection on beautiful and interesting things
To see the hand of our creator in nature (although almost all of this year’s resources are secular)
To keep a nature journal and learn some artistic skills that will help students reproduce their observations via drawings
To learn how to grow, cook, and use plants in a variety of ways
To learn about bees and worms as “side topics” (creatures that are beneficial to plants)

If you were using the free version, you can still access it. Here is the link to the archived version:

http://www.guesthollow.com/…/archive…/botany_curriculum.html

Check out our botany curriculum page for more info, a list of topics covered, a list of books & resources used, sample weeks, and more!

http://www.guesthollow.com/…/…/botany/botany_curriculum.html

If you purchased a botany schedule in the past year, look in your email for a notice about how to get your FREE updated version. The new schedule also has login information for a password protected online version of the schedule. Feel free to contact me, if you need assistance accessing the new schedule!

Extracting DNA from Strawberries Experiment

Today in botany we extracted DNA from strawberries! This is a super-easy experiment with dramatic results.

You need the following supplies:

  • 10 ml (2 tsp) dishwashing liquid (or shampoo without conditioner) – shampoo frees the DNA by disrupting the cell membranes.
  • 90 ml (6 T) water
  • 15 grams ( or 1/4 tsp) of salt (Salt allows the DNA to precipitate because the positive Na+ ions shield the negative charges on the DNA.)
  • 1-2 fresh or frozen strawberries (We used strawberries because they are octoploid – which means they 8 copies of each type of chromosome. That means they have 8x time the DNA of normal cells. Strawberries also have enzymes like pectinase that assists in cell wall breakdown.)
  • Ziploc bag
  • Coffee filter
  • Clear glass or test tube
  • Cup or beaker or similar container
  • Isopropanol alcohol

Instructions:

  1. Put your strawberries in the Ziploc bag, close the bag and then mash them up for a couple of minutes.
  2. In a large container, mix the dishwashing liquid, water and salt.
  3. Pour 10 ml of the dishwashing liquid, water and salt mixture into the Ziploc and mix it with your mashed up strawberries for about a minute. *Note: We actually had to pour in more liquid to get our strawberry mash to liquify. Add as much as you need to make a juice like consistency.
  4. Pour the solution through a coffee filter into a clear glass or test tube. You’ll have more visible results if you can pour it into a skinny test tube, like we did.
  5. Now gently pour in Isopropanol alcohol on top of the filtered strawberry liquid. Pour in 2x the amount of the strawberry liquid. So, if you poured in 4 ml of strawberry “juice”, you should pour in 8 ml of alcohol on top. DO NOT MIX. Just pour it gently right on top of the strawberry “juice”.
  6. As you view the tube (or glass), you’ll see a fuzzy, stringy white precipitate start to bubble up and then gather in a mass as it floats to the top of the alcohol layer. If for any reason you don’t see this, just add a little more salt. This is the strawberry’s DNA! You can poke in a toothpick or other item and spool some of the DNA onto it.

Here’s a picture of our test tube with DNA floating up to the top of the alcohol layer. You can see it clumping up at the top of the liquid with some bubbles.

Here’s a close-up. I’ve circled areas with blue. Look at the lower circle. You can actually see thread-like strands of DNA floating up.

So how in the world can you see DNA when it’s so tiny inside a cell and we wouldn’t even be able to see it with our microscopes? Think of cotton threads. You wouldn’t be able to see a single thread from 100 feet away, but you would be able to see it if it was wound together into hundreds of feet of rope. That’s what happens when you extract the DNA from strawberries. You can’t normally see an individual strand of DNA. However, when it becomes spooled together with all of the other strands via the extraction process, it becomes visible – just like our thread analogy.

This is a great experiment not just for botany but also for biology or a human body study. I think Otter was impressed that he was looking at real DNA!

Botany printable

I made another botany printable for my free botany curriculum.  I’ll continue to post printables for it as I create them!

Stems printable worksheet (sheet 1) – Learn stem related vocabulary words with definitions under each vocabulary word flap. Cut out the transport trucks that show the items a stem transports to different parts of the plant.

Stems printable worksheet

Stems printable (sheet 2 with cut outs)

Stems printable worksheet

After completing this activity, identify the same items on a real branch or plant!

More Botany Printables and Botany Tests / Quizzes are posted!

I’m working on creating interactive, online quizzes to go with each chapter of the Botany For Dummies book and have just received permission from the publisher to post them on my site. Thank you John Wiley & Sons, Inc.!

These tests are designed to be used “open book” as I sometimes refer to figures or illustrations in the text. The quizzes are designed to not only help assess understanding, but to also help a student learn how to find the answers to questions he doesn’t know by learning how to skim chapter headings and so on. This is an important skill for high school and beyond! Each test has a little humor sprinkled here and there to make it a teeny bit more fun.

Each quiz is self-grading and has feedback and hints for some of the answers.

Click here to look at the botany quizzes and tests!

I’ve also completed a few more notebooking pages for my botany curriculum:

This blank sheet (a filled in example is shown above) is for recording the various plants and flowers we’ll be learning about this year. You can choose from an editable page that can be filled out on your computer or one to print out and fill in by hand.

These pages will make a nice scrapbook of plants and flowers and help you learn to easily identify them out in the world!

I’ve also created a 10 page printable to practice taxonomy as well as a little box to construct and store all the taxonomy printable project pieces in.

Click here to go to my botany notebooking page to download any of the above.

Quite a few of you are joining me this year in studying Otter’s Botany. I hope you all have a wonderful year!

Otter’s Botany Curriculum Notebooking Pages

I’m currently working on creating notebooking pages to help my son retain what he will be learning in botany this year. All answers to these notebooking pages can be found in the Botany For Dummies text. All the pages are in PDF format. I’ll post more sets of notebooking pages as they become available. I’m also creating some interactive tests and quizzes, but am waiting to see whether they can be posted online or not.

Chapter 1 Botany Notebooking Page
This printable page highlights the many ways plants are useful.Botany notebooking page chapter 1
Chapter 2 Plant Cell
Draw and label the plant cell parts based on figure
2-10 from the text.botany notebooking page
Chapter 2 Lift the Flap 3 Domains Base Sheet
Learn about the 3 domains. Copy the book’s text explanations underneath each flap.botany notebooking pages
Chapter 2 Lift the Flap Cut & Paste Page
Cut out the tree parts for the 3 domains printable.botany notebooking page
Chapter 2 Plasma Membrane
Make the parts and jobs of the plasma membrane memorable with this printable!botany printable
Chapter 2 Lift the Flap Cell Parts & Jobs
Create a lift-the-flap on colored paper to help retain the parts of a cell and the various organelle jobs.botany lapbook page
More to come!

Otter’s Botany is Ready! (BETA version)

Botany Curriculum

I’ve finally finished a BETA version of Otter’s Botany and posted the download.

Why study botany? I think botany is an overlooked topic that gets shoved into a chapter of biology and then forgotten. Plants affect and enrich so many parts of our lives! Our houses and clothes are made of plant materials. We eat plants. We enjoy their beauty. They provide us with medicines, fuel, perfume, dyes, paper and a variety of other products. They are tied to history and even our future. They are an integral part of our lives!

I decided to study botany with my son as a sort of pre-biology course. I want Otter to understand the science behind plants as well as to take the time to appreciate the myriad contributions they make to our lives!

My main goals for this course are:

  • To understand many scientific concepts concerning plants
  • To understand and appreciate many practical applications of plants
  • To learn how to identify many different plants, flowers and trees
  • To learn some history and geography as it pertains to specific plants or plant discoveries
  • To be involved in the natural world on a more frequent basis
  • To hone Otter’s observation skills, nurture an interest in the natural world and have time to reflect on beautiful and interesting things – to see the hand of our creator in nature (although almost all of this year’s resources are secular)
  • To keep a nature journal and learn some artistic skills that will help him reproduce on paper what he observes
  • To learn how to grow, cook and use plants in a variety of ways
  • To learn about bees and worms as “side topics” (creatures that are beneficial to plants)

I’ve scheduled many different materials for this year. Otter’s Botany is full of hands-on labs, experiments, notebooking, drawing and art exercises, interactive websites, videos and more.

Check it out!