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Adaptations - Insectivorous Plants

Life Science - Middle School

 
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Even though plants can make their own food using photosynthesis, if they grow in areas like bogs with poor soil and few mineral nutrients, they may still struggle to survive. Some plants have adaptated by becoming insectivorous. This means that they get the minerals they need by luring, trapping and eating insects. They do this in several interesting ways. The Venus Flytrap’s leaves have two parts a flat, heart-shaped leaf stalk for doing photosynthesis and a clamshell-shaped leaf blade at the tip for trapping prey. The inside of the clamshell is bright red with tiny hairs on its surface. Its edges are lined with stiff hairs that look like eyelashes. Insects land on the red center looking for nectar. If they touch more than one of the inner hairs they trigger the leaf to snap shut like a clam. The stiff hairs along its edge interlock to keep the struggling insect inside. Then the leaf releases an enzyme that breaks the insect down for the plant to absorb. Pitcher plants have several hollow, tube-shaped leaves that are open on top. A sweet scent attracts insects inside, while bright-colored lines run down the length of the leaf like a road map. Insects follow the lines down into the hollow tube looking for nectar, but instead find a pool of liquid at the bottom. They try to climb back out, but rigid hairs point downward to block their escape. They are trapped. They may struggle to get out, but soon they tire and fall into the liquid at the bottom, which is an acidic pool that breaks them down. Their minerals are absorbed by the plant. Sundews have tiny droplets of sweet, sticky fluid attached to red hairs covering their leaves. Insects land on the leaves looking for nectar and get caught in the sticky glue. As the fly struggles it triggers the leaf to curl up, trapping the insect inside. Then the sundew releases an enzyme that breaks down its catch. The insect’s minerals are now available for the plant to use. Plant Adaptations - Insectivorous Plants
Even though plants can make their own food using ____________________________, if they grow in areas like bogs with poor soil and few mineral nutrients, they may still struggle to survive. Some plants have adaptated by becoming insectivorous. This means that they get the minerals they need by luring, trapping and eating ___________________. They do this in several interesting ways. The Venus Flytrap’s leaves have two parts a flat, heart-shaped leaf stalk for doing photosynthesis and a clamshell-shaped leaf blade at the tip for trapping prey. The inside of the clamshell is bright _____________ with tiny hairs on its surface. Its edges are lined with stiff hairs that look like eyelashes. Insects land on the red center looking for nectar. If they touch more than one of the inner hairs they trigger the leaf to snap shut like a clam. The stiff hairs along its edge interlock to keep the struggling insect inside. Then the leaf releases an __________________________ that breaks the insect down for the plant to absorb. Pitcher plants have several hollow, tube-shaped ___________________ that are open on top. A sweet ___________________ attracts insects inside, while bright-colored lines run down the length of the leaf like a road map. Insects follow the lines down into the hollow tube looking for _________________ but instead find a pool of liquid at the bottom. They try to climb back out, but rigid ______________________ point downward to block their escape. They are trapped. They may struggle to get out, but soon they tire and fall into the liquid at the bottom, which is an _____________________ pool that breaks them down. Their minerals are absorbed by the plant. Sundews have tiny droplets of sweet, sticky fluid attached to red ______________ covering their leaves. Insects land on the leaves looking for nectar and get caught in the sticky glue. As the fly struggles it triggers the leaf to ______________ up, trapping the insect inside. Then the sundew releases an enzyme that breaks down its catch and the insect’s minerals are available for the plant to use. Plant Adaptations - Insectivorous Plants 94-4048
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