Dandelions are commonly considered a weed, but it's useful too. This lab turns a weed into a useful lab by having students "help the school's maintenance team" determine how many dandelions are on school grounds. Students take the task seriously as they are helping provide information for a real task. This lab is cross-curricular, including opportunities for math skills to science.
Your purchase includes a 16 slide PowerPoint introducing the concept and lab and a student handout with data tables and a reflection for students to complete. The material fits well in one 90 minute or two 40 minute class periods.
Students love getting outside and solving a realistic problem during this lab. Random sampling is a technique used to estimate a population size. I use this lab as a way to get students outside during the ecology unit and apply principles taught during other ecology lessons. Students work on a hypothetical scenario about a maintenance worker for the school who is upset with the amount of dandelions on school property, and a principal who disagrees that there is a problem. The class is then charged to find out if it is worth purchasing the herbicide to spray the lawn in order to control the dandelion population.
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