Download This Full Lesson: Seaweed vs Plants
Lesson Description: Seaweeds have been harvested and used throughout the world for centuries and are highly valued in many countries today. The U.S. is just now discovering the many health benefits seaweeds provide and there is a shift towards kelp aquaculture. But what are seaweeds? Are they water plants or a species of their own? How are seaweeds used in today’s society? In this lesson, students will investigate these questions. To begin the lesson, the teacher will introduce the differences between seaweeds and land plants, followed by a microscope lab exercise where students will be using their different senses to identify the differences and similarities between sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) and a sunflower leaf (or geranium or other house plant leaf). As a wrap-up activity, students will be able to taste test seaweed salad (provided by the teacher). Students are encouraged to use their five senses during this lesson to help sharpen observation skills.
- What are the differences and similarities between seaweeds and land plants?
- What is the composition of a kelp (macroalgae) cell and how does it differ from a plant cell?
- What are some different human uses for seaweed?
- demonstrate the differences and similarities between plants and macroalgae.
- assess different types of cells under a microscope
- explain the process of photosynthesis for both plants and macroalgae.
NOTE: It is important that students know how to properly use a microscope in Part II of this lesson. If students do not have the necessary skills, do the microscope activity together as a class. The teacher can demonstrate how to prepare slides and use a microscope. Students may take turns looking through the microscope, comparing and contrasting the kelp slide and the germanium leaf slide.
Below are useful resources on how to use a compound light microscope: