Theme Unit Science Lesson


Author: Marc Sheehan

Title: Plant Walk-About

Content Areas: Science, Social Studies

Grade: 3-5

Materials: plant identification guides, plastic bags for plant samples, list of plant uses by Native Americans, construction paper, glue, binder paper, labels, pens, pencils, three-ring binders, hole-punch

Concepts Addressed: Classification, History, Culture

Objectives: The students will identify fifteen plants common to the Pacific Northwest using common and scientific names. The students will also be able to state how those plants were used by Northwest Native Americans. The students will create a collection of the plants they find. Finally, the students will identify the location and describe the habitat in which they found the plants.

Time: A 90 minute period (45 minutes per day) will be given for a plant-gathering activity (walk around the school). 90 minutes (45 minutes per day) will be given for assistance in creating the plant collections in class and sharing the collections. The students will be given two weeks to finish the collection. Total time: 180 minutes over 4 days.

Introduction: This lesson will begin with the explanation that the Northwest Natives had to rely on their environment to provide them with what they needed. Plants were used for a variety of different things by the various tribal groups. Plants will be listed, and the way they were used will be given.

Procedure: I will hand out a list of plants common to Washington and a list of how they were used by the local tribes. I will have the students get out a spiral notebook and a writing utensil. Then I will explain what we will be doing: we will go outside and look for some of the plants on our lists that could be found on the school grounds. The students will collect fifteen plants, identify them correctly, identify how they were used, and write down where the plant was found. The class trip will get them started on the assignment; they will have to complete the whole project on their own within two weeks. The class will also be shown how to flatten and mount the plants for a plant collection book. Then I will take the class out on our "Plant Walk-About."

Closure: The students will flatten and dry the plants (an instruction sheet will be given explaining how to do so), then mount the plants with glue onto sheets of construction paper (8.5 inches by 11 inches). The sheets will be hole-punched and placed into a three-ring binder for classroom display. Each page will have a label containing the common and scientific names of the plant, how the Northwest Native Americans used the plant, and where the plant was found. Collections will be shared in class.

Assessment: I will judge each collection on these factors: are the plants correctly labeled? Was information on the surrounding habitat given? Did the label contain the correct information on how the plant was used? Is the collection organized and presentable?





Awarded June 23, 2006