Author: Charlie Drewes
Iowa State University
Putting Your Best Root Forward:
Portfolio for a Plant
Objective: Each student researches and creates a portfolio for a specific plant species. The portfolio consists of a written and pictorial compilation of information that showcases the ecology, natural history, general morphology, and structural/functional specializations (adaptations) of their selected plant.
Finding resource materials: Students create their portfolio by consulting reference books, magazine/journal articles, and web resources. Students create a written narrative for each component of their portfolio. The narrative may be done in first-person, as if the plant portfolio was to be used for a job (niche) application. Although creativity is highly encouraged, students must use factually correct biological information.
If at all possible, students should locate and interact with a living representative of their selected plant. Experiences and results related to such interactions should be well documented in the appropriate sections of the portfolio. As an example of such experiential learning, students may grow a plant from a seed or they may locate a living specimen that is growing in a nearby habitat. Alternatively, they may obtain plant remnants or fragments (dried leaves, bark, seeds). Samples or photographs of any of these materials may be included in the portfolio.
SPECIAL NOTE: Students should never deplete, destroy, or deface any rare or endangered plant species. They should be fully informed of any rules and regulations about collecting plant species on public or private property. They should obtain permission before entering any private property. For their own personal safety, and the safety of others, they should be aware of any potential health hazard in touching or consuming any parts of their selected plant.
Possible Portfolio Components:
How I classify myself (genus, species, taxonomic associations, etc)
My current residence and position (biome, community, habitat, niche, etc)
About me: My life history (could include development, reproduction), illustrations/pictures
Special traits and features (anatomical and/or physiological adaptations)
Examples of my work (leaves, bark, wood, seed samples)
Concerns about my future (ecological threats such as pollution, pests, habitat loss)
Service and benefits to humans (possible use as food, medicine, or other derivatives)
My business card