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50-Foot Vine

A vine appears to have hitched a ride on a giant old elm tree.

Adair county, Iowa

Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions

  • In the picture of the vine and the elm tree, the vine appears to be hitching a ride on the tree. Is the vine simply climbing at the same rate as the tree is growing?
  • If that is the case, would the vine be the same age as the tree it is growing on? 
  • If the elm tree in the picture is 60 years old, does that mean that the vine is also 60 years old?
  • Why would the vine be climbing/growing up with the tree? 

Classroom Suggestions

  • Build a bridge out of cut-down vine segments.
  • Challenge your students, using a reflection journal, to consider these questions:
    • Are the vine and the tree growing at the same rate?
    • Why would the vine want to grow up, up, up with the tree?
    • Why does the vine not just simply grow on the ground?
    • Are the vines native to Iowa?
    • Is the vine harming the tree in any way?
    • Would you consider the vine an invasive species?
    • Would you consider the vine a parasitic species?

Related Resources

  • Invasive Vines: This video explains what the effects of invasive vines have become in New York City, and the U.S.
  • Iowa Outdoors: Invasive Species: This Iowa PBS video explains how invasive species, like Asiatic Bittersweet, can threaten native ecosystems.

Iowa Core Alignment

Life Science
Disciplinary Core Idea
LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

Credit Info

Submitted by Marcus Patten


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