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Lesson summary for:
How Did Plants Change Our Planet?


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Botanist Dr. Nathalie Nagalingum explains how, more than 400 million years ago, early plants played a notable role in adjusting Earth's physical surface as well as our planet's climate. She meets with paleobotanist Dr. Cindy Looy to discuss the evidence that scientists currently have to support her story.

California Academy of Sciences

Grade level:

5 minutes

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Life forms of the past were in some ways very different from living forms of today, but in other ways very similar. (LS4.A)

  • Present-day life forms are descended from past life forms; all life is related. (LS4.A)

  • Fossils provide evidence of past life. (LS4.A)

  • There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms. (LS4.A)

  • Scientists use fossils to learn about past life. (LS4.A, ESS1.C)

Teacher background:

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