Students continue to learn collecting etiquette as they begin a Class Herbarium. They examine 5 habitat areas to discover a particular area’s characteristics affecting plant growth, and they identify the area’s dominant plants. They look at literature with themes related to plants and/or the region.

If appropriate, you may wish to invite Elders and/or local experts into the class or on the outside field trips for these activities. Please see “ELDERS AND EXPERTS” in the Introduction for guidance and adjust your timeline, accordingly.

Please review the information in “NOTES on COLLECTING, PRESSING and the CLASS HERBARIUM” before beginning this section. Materials suppliers are listed in the Resources section of the Appendix.

Activities in this section involve collecting plant materials during the flowering season, although some seed activities are included. Select 5 outdoor locations for the class to visit. Suggestions are: beach, bog, meadow, sheltered valley, and exposed mountain.

Most of the activities in this section require time outdoors. If the weather does not permit these outdoor activities at this time, consider spreading the activities throughout other days. Alternately, you may wish to focus on the literature activity and reading time, and advance to Section Three, Activities 3, 5 and 6 before returning to this section.


Objectives: Alaska Standards

To understand the varied growing conditions needed by different plants.

To learn indigenous plants’ names and characteristics

Science: A. 11, 12, 14, 15; B. 1, 5; C. 1, 5; D.1
World Languages: B. 1

Geography: B. 1; C. 2; 4

Skills for a Healthy Life: B. 1, 3

To understand local cultural heritage and stewardship for the environment.

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

Arts: A. 3

To use technology to express ideas and create projects

English: A. 2, 4, 5, 6, 7; C. 5
Technology: A. 1, 2, 3; D. 1

To document the dominant species in a given growing area and to predict dominant species for similar areas.

Math: A. 3, 6
Geography: B. 1


  • Legend of the Bluebonnet or similar story
  • Literature about plants (see Resources in Appendix)
  • log book
  • pen, pencil
  • large sheets of paper for whole class activity

Habitat and collection activities:

  • “NOTES on COLLECTING, PRESSING and the CLASS HERBARIUM” in the Introduction *
  • habitat frames: one per color team to outline a study area 3 feet (approx. one meter) square.

    hula hoops; or

    lengths of string 12-15 feet (4.5 meters) and pencils to hold the 4 corners
  • camera, digital camera, video camera (optional)
  • field guides (See Resources in Appendix for list)
  • compass (directional)
  • outdoor “weather” thermometer
  • Habitat Record Sheet *
  • hand lens
  • masking tape for field labels
  • waterproof marking pens
  • plastic bags, in a variety of sizes to carry plant specimens: zip-loc or with twisties, 2-or 3 per student
  • computers
  • plant press (see “NOTES on COLLECTING, PRESSING . . .” in the Introduction)
  • white herbarium paper or other sturdy white paper
  • contact paper or laminating film and laminator
  • Leaf and Flower Cards from the Appendix * copied, cut apart, and laminated
  • Plant Illustration Cards from the Appendix * copied, cut apart, and laminated

Seed Activity:

  • stuffed animal toy
  • tweezers
  • Seed Test Card * (see Appendix)

(*included with unit)



ACTIVITY ONE. Students read about plants in literature, beginning with The Legend of the Bluebonnet or similar plant story. They locate a story or book about plant use through research in the library, on the Internet, by interviews, or with teacher-provided list. (see “Readings About Plants” list in Resources section in the Appendix). Students read the story or book and retell it in oral reports or written reports.

Inside activity
Estimated duration: 20-30 minutes to begin, followed by reading sessions in class or as homework.

ACTIVITY TWO. Students review collecting strategy and etiquette

Inside activity
Estimated duration: 20-30 minutes

Include advice from Elders and local experts, if available. Look at “NOTES on COLLECTING, PRESSING . . .” in the Introduction for additional suggestions. Review values described in “The Right Way to Live as an Unanga{” (see Appendix). Make a class record of collection guidelines on large paper that can remain displayed in the classroom for the duration of the unit.


ACTIVITY THREE A, B, and C. Students visit selected habitats and begin collections for a Class Herbarium. Students complete A, B, and C at each habitat location.

Outside activity
Estimated duration: one to 5, 80-90 minute sessions outside, plus travel time.

Begin a Class Herbarium. For detailed descriptions of collecting, pressing, and mounting specimens, please see “NOTES on COLLECTING, PRESSING and the Class Herbarium” in the Introduction. Materials suppliers are listed in the Resources section of the Appendix.

The Class Herbarium will be 2 collections of pressed plants with protective covers. One set will be identified and named. A second set will be without names so that it can be used in other activities including assessment.

Plan on taking an outdoor trip for the next one to 5 sessions to habitat areas that contain flowering plants. Suggestions for habitat areas include: beach, bog, meadow, sheltered valley, and exposed mountain. One or more of these habitats can be visited again during the seed activities in Section Three.

ACTIVITY THREE-A. Organize the class into teams by color: green, blue, yellow, red, and white. Student teams go to one of the pre-selected habitats with habitat frames —see materials above—and lay the frame on the ground. Within the frame, students record the characteristics of the habitat. They observe plants growing in the habitat and complete a Habitat Record Sheet.

ACTIVITY THREE-B. Students collect and observe seeds using Seed Test Cards. You may wish to limit this activity to one habitat location or repeat it at all habitats.

ACTIVITY THREE-C. Students collect specimens whose flowers match the color of their group name. Students may photograph the collection area and the plant before collection and may wish also to photograph the specimen later in the classroom. Students make preliminary field identifications using the Plant Illustration Cards.

ACTIVITY FOUR. Students identify plant specimens and prepare them for the Class Herbarium. They fill out identification tags and records on the computer using field guides and information from Elders or other experts. Arrange for one of the students or a helper to set up a template beforehand on the computer with the required Plant Information Card data.

Inside activity
Estimated duration: 20-30 minutes per plant collected

ACTIVITY FIVE. Students press their specimens. Based on your available materials, describe the appropriate pressing methods to your students. Review “NOTES on COLLECTING, PRESSING . . .” in the Introduction for guidelines.

Inside activity
Estimated duration: 10-15 minutes to set up per plant collected; 2 days to 2 weeks for drying time.

ACTIVITY SIX. Students mount and laminate their pressed plants to begin the herbarium collection. Students add final information about plants. (These may be as late as 2 days to 2 weeks later, depending on pressing technique.)

Inside activity
Estimated duration: 20-30 minutes per plant collected.

Assessment opportunity: Using completed Class Herbarium specimen pages that do not have labels, student identifies one or more plants and describes 4 facts about the plant.

Assessment rubric:
Students and teacher complete assessment rubrics.


Teacher Assessment Rubric, Section Two

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

Stays on task.


Completes work.


Asks questions.


Contributes to group's work.


Is respectful of Elders and experts.


Understands the information.


Needs help with:






3 Previous | Next | Appendices 47 Return to Table of Contents