Populations and ecosystems

Native Beauty: Creating a Wildflower Planting

You've got to hand it to those hardy survivors that manage to thrive in sidewalk cracks, along roadsides, and in wind-blown meadows. They've managed to adapt to conditions that our garden plants wouldn't even consider! And there's so much they can teach us.

Curriculum Connections

Perusing Pollination Partners

Have your students spend at least a couple of sessions a week observing flowers and their visitors in the school garden, wildflower meadow, or other context where flowers bloom. You might leave it open-ended and have them write down observations and questions they have or focus the observations with guiding questions.

Growing Garden Companions

Promoting Plant Partnerships

Tomatoes and marigolds . . . corn, beans, and squash. Through the ages, gardeners have believed that certain plants prefer particular partners. Don't jump to conclusions; it's not that plants actually like to pal around (a serious misconception)! Rather, some plants appear to do better when grown near others.

Curriculum Connections

Wild Wisdom

Butterflies exploring a natural environmentAfter you've had some time to make and record observations in your schoolyard garden, wander to a wilder place to see how butterflies behave in a more natural environment, where "weeds" and other plants grow freely. Ask your students to share anything the trip helped clarify for them, or new questions it created, such as, What kinds of plants grow here?

What's up with Wetlands?


Widespread concern for the environment began to grow in the late 1960’s and is a constant topic in media and policy discussions today. Students need to learn how to research and interpret current events and gain an appreciation for the importance of keeping abreast of new developments.


Students will each find and evaluate an article concerned with wetland habitat destruction or endangered carnivorous plant species and develop a reaction paper that demonstrates their critical reading skills.


Internet access

Bugs Beware!

Exploring Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous plants are a prime example of living organisms adapting to survive in a challenging environment. A special ability to capture and decompose animal life forms and then absorb the nutrients they release allows these plants to thrive where other plants struggle.

Insect Safari


Gardens usually have more insect inhabitants than plants! In this lesson, students sharpen their observation skills by going on an insect safari to learn more about these fascinating garden residents.


To compare preconceptions about insects to information gleaned through direct observation; to understand that as a whole insects are more helpful than harmful to the garden; to stimulate curiosity and a desire to study insects further.


  • Paper

  • Pencils

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Last updated on 04/15/2014
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