1. Ask the students what observation skills are and what senses do we use? Why won’t we use taste in this activity?
2. Distribute the sample plant parts (of the same species) to teams of students (2 or 3 students per team).
3. Ask them to describe what they see, feel, touch, smell (no tasting!) using their own words.
4. Use the hand magnifying lenses to look closely at leaf edges, bark, seeds, buds, fruits, underside of leaves, etc.
5. Document their descriptions on the board.
6. Use the local field guides to identify the plants.
7. What can we learn about a single plant species?
How does this plant fit within its ecosystem?
8. Take the students out to the river, stream or wetland to examine and identify the plants growing there.
9. Have each student select a native plant or plants from the local waterway ecosystem for further research.
Why not suggest
they choose one tree
species, and either an
aquatic species, shrub
or grass as well.
10. Have them use research books, interviews, online resources, etc. to fill out the Native Plant Research form (see downloads below).
11. Use the information from the Research form and additional artwork to create an attractive poster to teach others about native plants.
Slow flowing creek with lots of snags on the Murray River. Photograph: Bill Phillips
Steep, gorge and boulder type river habitat in Molonglo Gorge, ACT. Photograph: Bill Phillips
Use a colour photocopier to reproduce posters into smaller ‘books’ for future use (maybe use them for fund raising, education programs etc.) or to laminate and use on interpretive signage near plants in the waterway project.
Laminate and bind posters together into a booklet that can be added to by future classes, with an eventual complete set of posters for common plants of the river.
Have the students research and create a multimedia presentation about the native plant.