Can My Tree Catch the Flu?

Lesson:

Activity Description: 

This series of [4] activities helps increase youth awareness of Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a tree disease that has had devastating effects on oak populations in California. To provide an analogy to how a tree catches this disease, participants are introduced to a familiar situation – catching the flu. All activities were initially developed for a middle-school level audience but may easily be adapted to other ages and levels. The activities are interactive and engaging for the learner.

Objective: 

Learners will understand how germs (human pathogens and plant pathogens, especially Sudden Oak Death) multiply and spread via various means.  They will also understand how a tree's tissues are similar to a human's in function, and how trees can get sick.

Pre-Activity Prep: 
  • Gather materials necessary for the activities
  • Prepare moldy bread sample (if doing this activity)
Doing the Activity: 

Instructors can choose to do one or all four of the short activities presented.  Example plans for completing the four activities in an hour-long class period and as an exhibit with stations are presented.

Materials: 
  • Aerosol spray bottles with water
  • AV equipment: laptop, projector, extension cords, screen
  • Clay
  • 2 dark surfaces that do not absorb water (tray, plate, hand etc.) OR two pre-sprayed and dried trays for aerosol demonstration.
  • Display board for germ activity
  • Extra bread, plastic bags, and permanent marker for individual moldy bread experiments
  • Foot disinfectant mat
  • Glow-in-the-dark powder (such as Glitterbug) and black light
  • Kitchen timer
  • Laminated images or slides of appropriate visual aids, as needed
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Moldy and clean bread examples (or photos of such)
  • Movies of sneezing and P. ramorum
  • Multitude of small candy "germs"
  • Paper clips
  • Pencils and scratch paper
  • Ping-Pong balls (enough for about 1 per 1-2 people)
  • Hand-washing station OR baby wipes and hand sanitizer
  • Salt
  • Sealable plastic storage bags (at least 4) in various sizes
  • Straws (enough for 1 per person)
Time: 
One class period, or exhibit with stations
Source: 
UCCE Marin, http://cemarin.ucanr.edu/