You can easily preserve examples of the Wisconsin Fast Plants at several stages of their life cycle by pressing them in a flower press and then laminating them with clear adhesive paper. This is a great activity, with many uses, which was shared by the Wisconsin Fast Plants team at the recent National Science Teachers Convention. Thanks and appreciation go to this excellent team of teachers and researchers for the continuing flow of great ideas!
Place the plants (root and all if you like) between sheets of dry newspaper and press them using a flower press or a heavy book. The plants are delicate and dry easily. Within two or three days you will have nicely dried plants. Try cutting them off at soil level or remove the entire plant and rinse the soil from the roots. When the plants are laminated, you will have a nice comparison of the height of the plants at various stages of development.
Prepare a card and two pieces of clear, adhesive laminating paper. Chose a size that will also accommodate larger plants when they are further along in their growth and development. Some mature plants may be 20 cm tall so plan ahead for that size of cards. You can always cut them down later if the cards are too tall. The cards will look like bookmarks - tall and relatively thin. Consider printing a centimeter scale on the side of the card.
As you collect several preserved specimens of Fast Plants, at various stages of the life cycle, arrange them in series for comparison and discussion. You might assemble the set with a ring or place them up on a bulletin board.
The mounted plants can be easily photo copied! The silhouettes look great and depict the changes in the plants nicely.
Have fun, and keep in touch - let us know how this works!