Next|Appendices 4



Students begin a log book and explore what they already know about plants. They learn collecting etiquette and examine leaf structure. Some of the work in this part is done outdoors. If appropriate, you may wish to invite Elders and/or local experts into the class. Please see “ELDERS AND EXPERTS” in the Introduction for guidance and adjust your timeline, accordingly.

Objectives: Alaska Standards

To understand the varied growing conditions needed by different plants.

To learn indigenous plants’ names and characteristics

Science: A. 12, 14, 15; B. 1, 5; C. 1, 5; D.1
World Languages: B. 1
Geography: C. 1, 2
Mathematics: A. 5
Skills for a Healthy Life: B. 1, 3

To understand local cultural heritage and responsible conduct in the environment.

English: A. 1; C; D. 1; 2, 3; E. 1
Cultural: A. 3, 4, 5, 6; B. 2; C. 1, 3; E. 1, 2
History: B. 1
Arts: A. 3


  • log book
  • pen, pencil
  • large paper sheets to use for a class record
  • plastic bags, either zip-loc or with twisties, one per student
  • waterproof marking pen
  • contact paper or laminating film
  • manila file folder-style paper or similar paper
  • plant press (see “NOTES on COLLECTING, PRESSING . . .” in the Introduction)
  • Leaf and Flower Card from the Appendix * copied, cut apart, and laminated
  • Plant Illustration Cards from the Appendix * copied, cut apart, and laminated
  • field guides (see Resources in Appendix)
  • hand lens
  • wax paper, (optional)
  • iron, (optional)

    (*included with unit)

What do students know already about plants?

ACTIVITY ONE. Students make a log book to record their work.

Inside activity
Estimated duration: 20-30 minutes

The log book can be simple, folded sheets of paper that are stapled together, or an elegant hand-sewn set of pages. It can be a school test booklet or a purchased hard-cover journal. You may want to make a few samples so that you are satisfied with the potential outcome of the products the students will be making. A scientific log of botanical study could be a real keepsake. Students will make a cover for the log book in ACTIVITY FIVE.

ACTIVITY TWO. Students explore what they already know about plants while visiting an outside location. They write in their log books and assemble a class record of their individual writings. (pre-assessment)

Outside activity/Inside activity
Estimated duration: 40-60 minutes

Because you will need to locate and identify 5 habitat areas containing flowering plants for future lessons, you may wish to use one of them for this pre-assessment. Suggestions for habitats include: beach, bog, sheltered valley, exposed mountain, and meadow.

Form a circle with your students and look at and discuss the plants growing in that circle. Do they recognize any plants in the circle? If not, you may wish to shift the circle’s location to another place.


If you are fortunate enough to work on this unit when the plants are in full flower, then you may wish to fast-forward to section TWO so that you capture the plants in full bloom. You may return to SECTION ONE later.

ACTIVITY THREE. Students review collecting strategy and etiquette and collect 5 leaves each. Students discuss leaf collections in whole class group to model leaf descriptions discussion to follow.

Inside activity/Outside activity
Estimated duration: 60-80 minutes

Discuss collection cautions and strategies. Include advice from Elders and local experts, if available. As a guide to local behavior, you may wish to review “The Right Way to Live as an Unanga{” in the Appendix. Look at “NOTES on COLLECTING, PRESSING . . .” in the Introduction for additional suggestions. If your class day ends here, label and store the leaves in plastic bags in a refrigerator for use in ACTIVITY FOUR.

ACTIVITY FOUR. Students closely examine leaves collected in ACTIVITY THREE and work in teams to describe them using observation language rather than opinion language. They match leaves to the plants from which they came. Students record leaf information in their log books and press the leaves.

Inside activity/Outside activity
Estimated duration: 60-80 minutes

ACTIVITY FIVE. Teacher models “Pick a Place” while students are outside for ACTIVITY FOUR.

Outside activity
Estimated duration: 15-20 minutes

Show students how you, personally, make observations in the outdoors. Describe what you see in your “Place.” Hold a log book and write as your state your observations. Explain that student homework will be to “pick a place” that is their own and which they will observe every few weeks during the year (or for whatever time duration you select.) They will write their first description of their place in a few sentences. This activity is adapted from “Personal Plot Journals,” Science and Children, September 1996, p. 22.

ACTIVITY SIX. Students make a cover for their log books using collected leaves.

Inside activity
Estimated duration: 30-40 minutes

Depending on pressing techniques, you may need to delay completion of the activity until the leaves are fully dried.

ACTIVITY SEVEN. Students complete work sheet on leaf vocabulary.

Inside activity
Estimated duration: 10-15 minutes

Depending on pressing techniques, you may need to delay completion of the activity until the leaves are fully dried.

ACTIVITY EIGHT. Students prepare questions to ask Elders or experts about how leaves were collected, preserved and used.

Inside activity
Estimated duration: 10-15 minutes

Assessment opportunity: When shown a leaf, randomly selected by the teacher, student describes 3or more leaf characteristics using appropriate vocabulary

Assessment rubric
Students and teacher complete-assessment rubrics.

Teacher Assessment Rubric, Section One

Name of student: _________________________________
  1. Always 2. Sometimes 3. Never

Stays on task.


Completes work.


Asks questions.


Works cooperatively with peers and gains insight from their activities.


Respectful of values.


Respectful of Elders. (if included in this section)





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