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Natural sciences

Grade 8


Module 28

Plant adaptations

Like animals, plants have also made adaptations to survive under particular climatic conditions.

As water is of utmost importance for the survival of plants, their adaptations are related to the availability of water. Plants can be divided into three groups with regard to this type of adaptation.

  • XEROPHYTES – minimal availability of water
  • MESOPHYTES – moderate availability of water – as with most plants growing on land
  • HYDROPHYTES – maximal availability of water

Activity: to classify plants

Study the following sketches and classify the plants according to their structures as hydro-, meso- or xerophytes. Attempt to provide at least one reason for your classification in each instance.

Activity: to explain the way in which some plants adapt


Roots Poorly developed, only for anchoring

Leaves Large surface

Floating Cuticle (waxy layer) on surface

Air pockets in leaf

Stomata (small openings) on top


Very little strengthening tissue

Slimy layer

Rhizome (stores food)



Shallow root system

Corky layer


Few stomata, mainly on underside

Small or converted to thorns

Stems Thick and fleshy

Waxy layer

Could you supply correct explanations for each adaptation?

Assessment of assignment: [LO 2.4]

Assignment: story

The San most probably were the first people to live in Southern Africa and we still think of their ability to survive such dry conditions with astonishment. Water was a very limited resource.

But we do not have to go very far to discover some of the solutions that the San found centuries ago in nature and in plants (xerophytes), in particular.

Read about the natural vegetation of the desert-like parts of our country.

Write a story about the survival of a plant in the Kalahari Desert. Write this from the point of view of the plant. Let the plant do the talking to describe the conditions and how it manages to survive, and how it helps other plants, the San and animals to survive (its role in the food chain). Refer to the San people and how they used plants to survive.

Assessment of assignment:

Could you write a factually correct story about san culture and the kalahari ecosystem? [lo 3.1]

Class activity: adaptations in xerophytes

Examine the sketches of these unusual xerophytes – which adaptations do they exhibit?





Match the items in the following columns by writing the letters from COLUMN C in the appropriate spaces in COLUMN B. More than one match is possible.

[LO 2.4]

Activity: to conduct a research project

Most xerophytes are used as medicine and for a variety of other purposes in different cultures. Even primitive cultural groups practised science thousands of years ago by determining the value of plants and finding ways to use them.

Do research on the Internet, in books and in libraries.

Write a research report, using the following headings:

  • Planning of the investigation (which has to include research through the Internet and books and through conversations with homeopaths and sangomas or inyangas, as well as one or two older people).
  • Information gathered:

Examples of the use of plants by cultural groups in South Africa.

Discussion of three specific plants, including the aloe ( Aloe verox) (characteristics of the plants and medicinal, economic or other value).

  • Summary (summary of findings)
  • List of references: books, web addresses, and persons.


[LO 1.1; LO 1.2; LO 1.3]


Learning outcomes 1: Scientific investigations

The learner will be able to act confidently on curiosity about natural phenomena, and to investigate relationships and solve problems in scientific, technological and environmental contexts.

This is evident when the learner

1.1 is able to plan investigations;

1.2 is able to conduct an investigation and collect data;

1.3 is able to evaluate data and communicate findings.

Learning outcomes 2: Constructing Science Knowledge

The learner will know and be able to interpret and apply scientific, technological and environmental knowledge.

This is evident when the learner

2.4 is able to apply knowledge.

Learning outcomes 3: Science, society and the environment

The learner will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the interrelationships between science and technology, society and the environment.

This is evident when the learner

3.1 is able to understand science as a human endeavour.



  • www.lithop.supanet.com



  • Do some reading about the natural vegetation of the arid regions of our country.
  • Write a story about the survival of an animal in the Kalahari Desert. Write this from the point of view of the animal and from its situation in the food chain.


ASSIGNMENT: Research project

  • Most xerophytes are used as medicines and in a variety of other applications, by various cultural groups.
  • The aloe ( Aloe ferox), in particular, has a wide range of applications – consult homeopaths, sangomas or an inyanga to find information in this regard.
  • Do research through the internet, books and libraries.
  • Write a research report with the following headings as a guideline:

Growing regions

Special properties of the plant, especially the leaves

Medicinal and economic value of the plant

  • Include a list of all the sources and websites that you consult.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Natural sciences grade 8. OpenStax CNX. Sep 12, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11050/1.1
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