Lab: Predator-Prey Size: Sundew

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Lab: Predator-Prey Size: Sundew

Purpose: Determine effect of prey size on capture rate in Sudews.
Materials Provided:
    2 Potted Sundews
    2 clear cover domes
    2 size varieties of non-flying fruit flies
    Student directions and data sheet
Grade Level: 4-5 elementary, middle school, high school, undergraduate.

Sundews are marvelous glistening carnivorous plants with sticky tentacles that move slowly, but effectively capture prey. Their sticky traps are very effective in luring, capturing and digesting prey.

In this inquiry investigation, students investigate the trapping of 2 different size prey: wingless and flightless fruit flies. Students make observations, collect and graphically analyze data, make inferences, and draw conclusions. They end with a good understanding of how sundews select appropriate prey size to minimize energy requirements and maximize nutrition capture in greater detail than simplying reading about it.

This series of carnivorous plant lab investigations is based on scientific inquiry standards of the National Science Education Standards, and are consistent with State Learning Objectives. Students have the opportunity to think and act like scientists during these investigations. Written and classroom tested by Michael Szesze, Awarding Winning Science Teacher.

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