Grade 7 Unit B: Curriculum Links | Print |

Unit B: Plants for Food and Fibre
(emphasis on Science and Technology)


Humans have always depended on plants as a source of food and fibre, and to meet a variety of other needs. To better meet these needs, technologies have been developed for selecting and breeding productive varieties, and to maximize their growth by modifying growing environments. (Plant Biotechnology Resource) Long-term sustainability requires that we become aware of the practices we use, and examine impacts of these practices on the larger environment. Alberta Environment (Website)

Focusing Questions:

How do we produce useful plant products?

What techniques do we use, what knowledge are they based on, and how do we apply these techniques in a sustainable way?

Key Concepts

plant propagation and reproduction

selective breeding

life processes and structure of plants


fertilizers and soil nutrients

resource management

chemical (pesticides) and biological controls


STS and Knowledge Outcomes
Students will: Investigate plant uses, and identify links between needs, technologies, products and impacts

illustrate and explain the essential role of plants within the environment

describe human uses of plants as sources of food and raw materials, and give examples of other uses (e.g,; identify uses as herbs or medicines; describe plant products and identify plant sources on which they depend)

investigate the extent of natural and managed living resources in agricultural, horticultural, forest and grassland environments; and identify examples of local and global change (e.g., describe changes in the size of forested areas; describe changes in the characteristics of forested areas)

investigate practical problems and issues in maintaining productive plants within sustainable environments, and identify questions for further study (e.g., investigate the long-term effect of irrigation practices, or fertilizer use)

Students will: Investigate life processes and structures of plants, and interpret related characteristics and needs of plants in a local environment

describe the general structure and functions of seed plants (i.e., root, stem, leaf and flower) Plant Biology

investigate and interpret variations in plant structure, and relate these to different ways that plants are adapted to their environment (e.g., distinguish between plants with shallow spreading roots and those with deep tap roots; describe and interpret differences in flower form and in the timing of flower production)

investigate and interpret variations in needs of different plants and their tolerance for different growing conditions (e.g., tolerance for drought, soil salinization, or short growing seasons)

describe processes of diffusion, osmosis, conduction of fluids, transpiration, photosynthesis and gas exchange in plants (Note: this item requires a general understanding of the processes; it does not require knowledge of the specific biochemistry of these processes.)

describe life cycles of seed plants, and identify example methods used to ensure their germination, growth, and reproduction (e.g., describe propagation of plants from seeds and vegetative techniques such as cuttings; conduct a germination study, describe the use of bee hives to support pollination)-Alberta

Students will: Analyze plant environments and identify impacts of specific factors and controls

describe methods used to increase yields, through modifying the environment and by creating artificial environments (e.g., describe processes used in raising bedding plants, or in vegetable production through hydroponics)

investigate and describe characteristics of different soils and their major component (e.g., distinguish between clay soils, sandy soils and soils rich in organic content; investigate and describe particle sizes, compaction, and moisture content of soil samples)

identify practices that may enhance or degrade soils in particular applications

describe and interpret the consequences of using herbicides, pesticides and biological controls in agriculture and forestry

Students will:
Identify and interpret relationships between human needs, technologies, environments, and the culture and use of living things as sources of food and fibre

investigate and describe the development of plant varieties through selective breeding, and identify related needs and problems (e.g., identify needs leading to development of new grain varieties; identify problems arising from development of new varieties that require extensive fertilization)

investigate and identify intended and unintended consequences of environmental management practices (e.g., identify problems arising from monocultural land use in agricultural and forestry practices, such as susceptibility to insect infestation or loss of diversity)

evaluate the effect of different practices on the sustainability of agriculture and environmental resources (e.g., identify economic, social and environmental implications of different levels of pest control or use of organic farming techniques) Pest Management