Utah’s extraordinary landscapes are home to an incredible diversity of plants and animals. The way a living thing looks, its structure, affects how it survives and functions in its environment. Using our Life gallery, learn more about the relationship between structure and function from the microscopic to the ecosystem level. Practice scientific skills and deep exploration through activities about desert plants, seeds, and the ever-charasmatic squirrel. The provided activities were designed with 3rd-5th grade students in mind but can be adapted to other grades.
Cacti and Desert Plants
Compare and model the structures and functions of hot and cold desert plants.Start Exploring
Q&A with Biologist Dr. La'Shaye Cobley
La’Shaye Cobley is originally from Brooklyn, New York. She received a PhD in Biology from the University of Utah. Her dissertation focused on the study of plants as environmental biomonitors, using their leaf chemistries to tell stories about atmospheric pollution. She received a BA in Biology and Africana Studies from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. La'Shaye is currently an Air Pollution Specialist with the California Air Resources Board, where she helps the state clean the air through strong regulations grounded in science.
What's it like to be a scientist that studies leaves? Where do plants get their food from? (No, it's not burgers!) Learn more about our guest Dr. Cobley, like her favorite plant and why!