Curriculum Connections

Creating Field Guides

Field guides are publications designed to help people identify living things outdoors. Plant field guides are typically arranged according to physical characteristics, such as flower type, size, and color; leaf arrangement; and plant height. (The nature and arrangement of flower parts are key factors in determining plant families.)

Collecting Plants: A Pressing Project

Making Herbaria, Field Guides, Gifts

When European explorers struck out in the 16th century to discover parts unknown, they often returned with samples of plants they'd met along the way. As this collection of treasures soon exploded, botanic gardens were hard pressed to keep living samples of the whole lot. So botanists devised a solution: create a collection of pressed plants.

Curriculum Connections

Looking for ideas to get your students' feet wet before they fashion their own bountiful containers? Here are a few ideas to whet their appetites:


Websites We Like

Dried Flowers Galore
Features instructive articles, an illustrated list of dried plants, a seed source listing, and a forum for exchanging ideas and asking questions.

The Language of Flowers
The historical meanings of herbs and flowers, from apple blossom to zinnia.

Curriculum Connections - Dried Flower Creations


Flowers and herbs, long appreciated for their beauty, symbolism, and medicinal uses, have also been employed to conceal offensive odors! In 18th century Europe and colonial America, fresh water and refrigeration were at a premium, sewers were often open, and horses wandered through streets. Crushed dried flowers, herbs, and spices were strewn on floors, kept in dressers to keep insects from clothing, and used to deodorize streets and people alike.

Preserving Buds and Blooms from your School Garden

The vibrant blooms of summer captivate our senses and imaginations, then so quickly fade away. But the story doesn't have to end like that. You can extend your students' fascination with flowers, adorn your classroom, and inspire a host of hands-on projects by doing what humans have done for thousands of years: dry 'em.

Curriculum Connections

Getting Pigments to Hang On

 Finessing Fibers

It's generally easier to dye animal fibers like wool and silk than plant-based fibers like cotton or linen. The scale-like protein molecules in wool fibers provide a lot of active "sites" to which pigment molecules can attach.

Dyeing to Find Out


Extracting Nature's Colors

Nature presents an incredible visual rainbow. For centuries, people have tried to capture these natural hues for decorating animal skins, fabrics, crafts, hair, and bodies. They've even been employed to distinguish serf from master and one religious sect from another, and to color banners carried in battle.


Websites We Like

Picturing Science - Using a combination of photography, science, writing, and art, students study science concepts in the world around them.

Visual Literacy Activities - Simple and engaging ways to incorporate visual learning into your classroom.

Curriculum Connections

Developing Young Scientists

Like real scientists, your students must learn keen observation to take in information and record details of what they see. After all, it's only after someone has really seen something that he or she can make sense of it. Photography can be a great learning and assessment tool for capturing observations, documenting experiments, and revealing student understanding. Here are some ideas to spark your thinking:

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Copyright © 1999-2012 National Gardening Association     | &      |     Created on 03/15/99, 

Last updated on 04/23/2014
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