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Education - Activities & Lesson Plans

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Activities and lesson plans are posted in the language(s) in which they were submitted.

We welcome submissions of activities and lesson plans from employees and members of Canadian botanical gardens, arboreta, museums and related institutions or from Canadian educators. Please contact us (yannvergriete@fastmail.fm).

Garden-Based

Primary Level (ages 5-8)
  1. Nature by Numbers (PDF, 207 KB)

    This activity introduces the concept of numbers found in the natural world, and underlines the wonder and necessity of the diversity of different plants.

  2. Colour Me (PDF, 210 KB)

    Students are asked to look closely to find the rainbow of colours found in a superficially-green dominated landscape.

Junior Level (ages 9-12)
  1. Hula Hoop Biodiversity (PDF, 208 KB)

    This activity is designed to let students use all their senses to determine the biodiversity in a variety of different areas of the site.

  2. Biodiversity Word Walk (PDF, 214 KB)

    A guide will take the group on a walk through the grounds where hidden letters are revealed, and small activities are done. Once the hike is finished the jumbled letters can be pieced together to spell a single theme word.

  3. Beautiful Soil (PDF, 212 KB)

    This is a series of activities and demonstrations in the garden to show what are the components of soil, how it is formed and it’s importance.

  4. What are Heritage Plants? (PDF, 207 KB)

    Students listen to a story, plant seeds, learn about heritage seeds, reading seed package for plant needs and sizes, plant seeds.

Various Ages
  1. Who am I? The web of life ... with a twist (PDF, 207 KB)

    Each player is assigned a secret species identity, which they must identify with the help of the other players. Once all identities have been deciphered, players form a circle and pass a ball of yarn from “species to species” to demonstrate the web of life.

  2. Plant Scavenger Hike (PDF, 209 KB)

    Students search for plants with particular characteristics. A combination of words and/or drawings may be usedas clues to help reinforce identification of characteristics and features and the associated vocabulary.

  3. Plant Imagery (PDF, 202 KB)

    In pairs, one student is blind-folded while the other describes a nearby plant. Once the blindfold is removed, the partner tries to find the plant that was described. This activity requires strong observation, descriptive and problem solving skills.

  4. Meet a Plant - Up Close and Personal (PDF, 207 KB)

    This activity takes participants through a guided observation process that helps them focus on plant characteristics as a way to enhance both their appreciation and their knowledge of plants, plant adaptations and plant diversity.

  5. Go Green (PDF, 269 KB)
  6. This outdoor sensory activity encourages individual observation and exploration in the forest. Go Green focuses on the variety of colours as an entry point into a greater awareness and appreciation of biodiversity.

  7. True / False: Biodiveristy Edition (PDF, 219 KB)

    With active bodies and brains, participants test their knowledge, learn from one another and explore I issues related to biodiversity and biodiversity conservation.

Classroom-Based

Primary Level (ages 5-8)
  1. Growing Native Plants from Seed (PDF, 211 KB)

    Students are given a hands-on experience of planting seeds and seeing the results. Long term care and monitoring the seedlings as they grow will ground the students in a real experience as they explore related concepts later on.

  2. What is it? (PDF, 213 KB)

    Through a modified game of Tag, students are asked to differentiate between plants and animals. Students begin to explore the characteristics of plants.

  3. Build a 3D Plant Model (PDF, 219 KB)

    In this activity, students use a variety of craft materials to construct a three-dimensional model of a flowering plant. This process helps students learn the major plant parts and their basic functions.

  4. Pollination Demonstration (PDF, 198 KB)

    This is a short extension that makes use of the students’ 3-D plant models to introduce the terms pollen and pollination.

  5. Suptious Sprouting Seeds (PDF, 214 KB)

    This is a two-part activity. In Part One, students are introduced to the inside of a seed and learn about the different parts of a seed. Part Twoallowsstudents plant their own seeds, watch them sprout and then eat them!

  6. How do I use plants? (PDF, 211 KB)

    Students gain an appreciation of the importance of plants to humans by creating a collage that depicts the different ways they, as individuals, use plants.

  7. Looking at Lawns (PDF, 228 KB)

    Students investigate the importance of plants to animals by exploring their own schoolyard.

Junior Level (ages 9-12)
  1. Native Plant Research Project (PDF, 212 KB)

    Done shortly after a planting experience, this will provide relevant context for the long term care of the seedlings, and the growing plants will provide a consistent grounding experience for the academic work.

  2. Biodiversity Trust Games (PDF, 218 KB)

    These activities are designed to be done outside (where possible), and to be done with some prior knowledge of trust-building and group dynamics.

  3. Aquatic Roots (PDF, 209 KB)

    Students use reference materials to research various local aquatic plants and/or animals to find out whether they are natives or exotics and to investigate their impacts on people, other animals and the environment.

  4. The Edge of Home (PDF, 205 KB)

    Explains why some species of plants and animals occur in more than one area. Also emphasizes the importance of protecting ecotone areas, for the higher levels of diversity present.

  5. Habitat Mural (PDF, 217 KB)

    Groups of 4-5 students will build a collage for an ecosystem, with the goals of understanding interactions in community, adaptations of plant and animal life to the habitat, and the dependence all life has on plants.

  6. Wetland Metaphors (PDF, 208 KB)

    Students are presented with a selection of hands on objects for investigation as metaphors for natural functions of wetlands.

  7. Forest Food Web Activity (PDF, 203 KB)

    Students will be introduced to food webs and ecological interconnections in the forest, and place different life forms in their proper place in a food chain.

  8. What are Heritage Plants? (PDF, 207 KB)

    Students listen to a story, plant seeds, learn about heritage seeds, reading seed package for plant needs and sizes, plant seeds.

  9. We are where and what we eat (PDF, 216 KB)

    Students explore concepts of the plants we eat, where and how they grow and introduction to genetic diversity by examining their characteristics. Students set up seeds to sprout.

Senior Level (ages 13 - 17)
  1. Investigating Monocots and Dicots (PDF, 215 KB)

    Students learn about monocotyledons and dicotyledons by exploring the differences between the seed structures and observing the difference in their growth.

  2. Investigating Xylem (PDF, 209 KB)

    Students investigate how water travels up the stem of vascular plants by using food colouring to stain the xylem of a number of different plants.

  3. Capillary Action and Transpiration (PDF, 211 KB)

    Extension to the “Investingating Xylem” activity. Through a teacher demonstration, students are introduced to the concept of capillary action.

  4. Great Gravity, Batman! (PDF, 213 KB)

    Through this investigation, students are introduced to the effect of gravity on plant growth.

  5. Soil ph and Plants (PDF, 212 KB)

    Students investigate the pH of the soil in which different plants grow.

  6. Forest in a Jar (PDF, 208 KB)

    Through this activity, students are introduced to the process of succession and gain awareness of the changing nature of ecosystems.

  7. Habitat Preservation Project (PDF, 207 KB)

    Demonstrates what happens when nature takes back land after humans have managed it.

  8. Pond Succession Mural (PDF, 209 KB)

    Students recognize that natural environments are involved in a process of continual change, and create murals showing three major stages of pond succession.

  9. Discovering Dichotomous Keys (PDF, 212 KB)

    Through a series of activities, students become familiar with the structure and use of dichotomous keys.