The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Minerals, Decay and Farming

In this worksheet, students will look at the minerals that plants need and how they are recycled in the environment through decay and farming.

'Minerals, Decay and Farming' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  Biology: Ecosystems

Curriculum subtopic:  Interactions Between Organisms in a Community

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Some people say that every time you breathe in, you are breathing in air that Shakespeare also breathed in. This might not really be true because of the way that air spreads out int eh atmosphere, but it is true that all of the stuff that Shakespeare is made of is not in other living things. That carbon that he was made of would go into a plant - if something eats that plant it will go into that animal, then that animal gets eaten and you get the idea... It is this recycling of nutrients that we will be looking at in this worksheet.

 

Plant minerals

In addition to carbon dioxide, warmth and water, plants need minerals, too. The table below shows the most important minerals, how they are used by plants and the consequences for the plant when the mineral is not available:

 

Minerals Uses Mineral deficiencies
nitrates making amino acids, which are joined together to make proteins used for growth poor growth, yellow leaves
phosphates making cell membranes and DNA  poor root growth, discoloured leaves
potassium compounds making enzymes for photosynthesis and respiration poor fruit and flowers, discoloured leaves
magnesium compounds making chlorophyll molecules to trap light for photosynthesis yellow leaves

 

Vocabulary used in farming

  • pesticides, two types, see insecticides and fungicides below
  • insecticides, used to kill insects
  • fungicides, used to kill fungi
  • herbicides, used to kill unwanted plants (weeds)
  • greenhouses, used to grow plants in optimum conditions
  • hydroponics, a system used to grow lettuce and tomato plants without water
  • in organic farming no manufactured chemicals are used, but alternative methods, like biological control (other animals are used to feed on pests)

 

DDT was a very effective pesticide which has now been banned, as it built-up in food chains and killed many animals.

 

Decay

Break down of dead animals and plants into simpler chemicals is called decay. Microorganisms called decomposers (mainly bacteria and fungi) cause decay. Sewage and dead plants are broken down into compost.

The remains of dead plants and animals are called detritus. Detritivores depend on detritus for their food. Such animals are maggots, woodlice and earthworms. Detritivores are very important in food chains, as they recycle chemicals in the environment; for example, carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

 

We will now go through some questions on minerals, farming and decay.

How are nitrates used by plants? Two answers apply.

Making amino acids

Making chlorophyll

Making DNA

Amino acids are used for making proteins

How would a farmer know that their plants do not have enough magnesium?

Poor growth

Yellow leaves

Discoloured leaves

What are phosphates used for in plants?

Making amino acids and proteins

Making chlorophyll

Making cell membranes and DNA

Select the option which defines insecticides.

Chemicals used to kill fungi

Chemicals used to kill insects

Chemicals used to kill weeds

Select the option which defines hydroponics.

Chemicals used to kill pests

Special constructions used to grow plants in optimum conditions

A system that uses water instead of soil

How do organic farmers control pests?

Herbicides

Biological control

Insecticides

Why was DDT banned?

It built-up in the food chains and killed animals

It did not kill unwanted pests

It was too expensive

What is the scientific name for organisms that cause decay of the bodies of dead plants and animals?

Decayers

Decomposers

Reducers

What is broken down to make compost? Tick two boxes.

Dead plants

Animals

Plastic

Sewage

What is the scientific name for the remains of dead plants and animals?

Detergent

Detritus

Decomposers

  • Question 1

How are nitrates used by plants? Two answers apply.

CORRECT ANSWER
Making amino acids
Amino acids are used for making proteins
EDDIE SAYS
Nitrates are used for the production of amino acids, which are important in making proteins. Amino acids are important in all living things as they are what the building blocks of cells are made of.
  • Question 2

How would a farmer know that their plants do not have enough magnesium?

CORRECT ANSWER
Yellow leaves
EDDIE SAYS
Lack of magnesium leads to plants with yellow leaves. This means that they can't do photosynthesis as well as they should be able to do - so it will lead to other problems.
  • Question 3

What are phosphates used for in plants?

CORRECT ANSWER
Making cell membranes and DNA
EDDIE SAYS
Phosphates are used to make cell membranes and DNA. You could probably see the problem with this - no Phosphate, no DNA, no life...
  • Question 4

Select the option which defines insecticides.

CORRECT ANSWER
Chemicals used to kill insects
EDDIE SAYS
Insecticides are chemicals used to kill insects. Insects eat plants and that is a bad thing - we want to eat the plants!
  • Question 5

Select the option which defines hydroponics.

CORRECT ANSWER
A system that uses water instead of soil
EDDIE SAYS
Hydroponics is a system that uses water instead of soil to grow plants, like tomato and lettuce. This is how we think we will grow plants in space.
  • Question 6

How do organic farmers control pests?

CORRECT ANSWER
Biological control
EDDIE SAYS
Organic farmers use other animals to control their pests; it is called biological control.
  • Question 7

Why was DDT banned?

CORRECT ANSWER
It built-up in the food chains and killed animals
EDDIE SAYS
DDT is a type of pesticide which was banned because of its built-up in the food chain killing bigger animals.
  • Question 8

What is the scientific name for organisms that cause decay of the bodies of dead plants and animals?

CORRECT ANSWER
Decomposers
EDDIE SAYS
Decomposers are organisms that cause decay of the bodies of dead plants and animals. They are mainly bacteria and fungi. Without them, all the nutrients in the world would have been used up by trees millions of years ago.
  • Question 9

What is broken down to make compost? Tick two boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
Dead plants
Sewage
EDDIE SAYS
Sewage and dead plants are broken down into compost. This recycles their nutrients to be used by other things like plants.
  • Question 10

What is the scientific name for the remains of dead plants and animals?

CORRECT ANSWER
Detritus
EDDIE SAYS
The scientific name for the remains of dead plants and animals is detritus.
---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Start your £1 trial

Start your trial for £1