KS2 Introduce transpiration as an important part of the water cycle. Tie a polythene bag around the pot of a potted plant and cover the soil. Put an inverted jam jar over the aerial parts, leave the plant in a sunny place for a few hours and condensation will appear on the inside of the jar.
Discuss what this might be and where it has come from.
KS3 Many Botanic Gardens have displays of economic plants such as jute, rubber, coffee, sugar cane as well as others found in the Amazon. Observe their characteristics as well as those of the timber trees of teak and mahogany.
See www.ucl.ac.ukarchaeologyresearchprofilessmason KS4 If you have spurge in a garden, a Poinsettia or one of the many examples of Euphorbia cacti, then you have access to relatives of Hevea brasiliensis, the rubber tree. Use them as examples to teach about variation and adaptation.
KS5 Rubber latex coagulates and is then treated (vulcanised) using sulphur. For all you need to know about rubber, see www.bouncing-balls.com