Downloadable Teaching Modules

If you cannot make it to the professional development classes at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, you can still download the materials to use in your classroom. Each course unit includes handouts, resources, vocabulary lists, suggested homework activities, labs and other activities for the classroom. The course units are as follows:

Unit I: School Gardens
Unit II: South Florida Plants and Ecosystems
Unit III:Ethnobotany

Unit IV: Basic Botany
Unit V: Environmental Action
Unit VI: Plant Adaptations and Conservation
Unit VII: Palms: From Seed to Tree
Unit VIII: Activities for Young Learners
Unit IX: Fundamentals of Scientific Research

I. School Gardens (back to menu)

The following resources and activities provide information on how to plan, implement and maintain a school garden, as well as ideas and lesson plans to use the garden as a living laboratory.

Lecture resources/handouts:
Elementary School Garden Resources
Garden Grant ResourcesComposting Resources                        
Native Plants for your Garden
Butterfly Plants for your Garden
School Garden Powerpoint
School Garden Design Powerpoint
Pizza Theme School Garden

Plant Survey Activity 
Super Garden Botany 
Coordinate grid garden 
Pollen Movers 
Garden Math 
Parts of a Plant 
Living with Plants  
Life Cycles
Soil Scavenger Hunt 
Root Top Garden 
Terrarium Activity 
Flower Press Activity 
Learning With Leaves 

II. South Florida Plants and Ecosystems - (back to menu)

South Florida has a number of unusual ecosystems, some of which are only found here and nowhere else.  These ecosystems create a mosaic of plant and animal communities, resulting in a diverse patchwork landscape that is unlike any other in the world.  The following resources will help you explore the ecosystems that make up South Florida’s unique tapestry of life.

Plants and Ecosystems
Where to buy Pine rockland plants
Connect to Protect Network - link to website
Connect to Protect Network brochure.pdf
Pinerockland ID Cards
South Florida Native Plant Uses
Native Plants for your Garden
Brainstorming Where Do You Live

Pinerockland ecosystem

Native Plant Key
Investigating Seed Dispersal
Investigating Ecosystems 
Meet a Native
Pinerocklands Plant Adaptations
Investigating Hardwood Hammocks
Investigating Pinerocklands
Investigating Mangroves

Using your Pinerockland Garden to Teach Science
Where Do You Live?

South Florida Survivor
Adaptations Treasure Hunt
Life Under a Log
Food Web

Don't Let it Loose

South Florida Plants and Ecosystems
Invasive Species in South Florida
The Restoration of Cape Florida


III. Ethnobotany - The relationship between people and plants (back to menu)

We recommend this unit as the "starter" unit for anyone who wants to get their students interested in plants. This unit explores the different ways humans interact with and use plants - from food to medicine to building materials and more. This unit can open your students' minds to how important plants really are in our daily lives and will help them begin to think about plants as more than just those green things that grow everywhere!

Lecture resources/handouts:
Definition and Scope of Ethnobotany
Most Useful and Economically Important Plant Families
Native Plant Use Guide
South Florida Native Plant Uses
Ethnobotany Vocabulary
Pondering Plants
Resource List for Teachers

Ethnobotany and Conservation

The Beauty of Natural Plant Dyes

Self-Guided Ethnobotany Activity
Ethnobotany Basics Worksheet
24 Hour Inventory
Interview Guide
Native Plant Use Worksheets
Lab: Extracts and Tinctures
Lab: Growing a Useful Plant
Ethnobotany of Fruits and Flowers
Ethnobotany Crossword Puzzle
Scent Trails
Suggested Homework Exercises
South Florida Survivor
Ethnobotany Case Studies
Ethnobotany Stakeholder Analysis Table
Testing Your Tincture
What We Eating


IV. Basic Botany (back to menu)

This unit explores the structure and function of a plant's "green machines" - its leaves, flowers, fruits and adaptations. It covers photosynthesis, transpiration, nutrient transport, plant ecology, classification and more. This unit will help your students begin to understand the amazing contribution that plants make to the global environment and why the planet could not function without them.

Lecture resources/handouts:
Basic Botany Handbook
Monocot and Dicot Characteristics

Leaf Classification

Anatomy and Physiology of Leaves
Green Machines Vocabulary
Resource List for Teachers
Flower Structure and Function
Fruit Classification
Fruit Key
The Birds and the Bees: Pollination and Dispersal
Flower and Fruit Vocabulary
Plant Kingdom Resource Kit
Flower Power and Conservation
Basic Botany Workshop   

Leaf Classification Activity
Lab: Transpiration Demos
Lab: Dissecting Microscope Lab
Staining Techniques with Toluidine Blue
Pressing and Preserving Plant Specimens
Suggested Homework Exercises
Lab: Flower Dissection
Lab: Pollination
Lab: Honey
Fruit Classification Worksheet
Plant Kingdom Stations Activity
Additional Classroom Exercises and Suggested Resources

V. Environmental Action  (back to menu)

The following activities address the Environmental Action option of the Fairchild Challenge,  covering energy usage, water conservation and quality, and biodiversity monitoring, providing hands-on activities and ideas that can be implemented at school, home and in the community.

Biodiversity Monitoring - Lecture resources/handouts:

ASTA Schoolyard Biodiversity
Biodiversity Lesson Plan Smithsonian
Biodiversity Counts
Biodiversity One-meter Plot Activity
Biodiversity Resource List
Conserve Biodiversity
Openers and Closers
Parking Lot Diversity Activity
Plant Inventory
Schoolyard Botany Activities
World Conservation

Energy - Lecture resources/handouts:

 Energy Saving Resources

Water - Lecture resources/handouts:

Water Leak Detector
Water audit teachers guide
Home Water Audit
Water Facts
Water resources
Water Saving Tips
Water Measurement Activity

VI. Plant Adaptations and Conservation (back to menu)

This unit looks at the unique ways that plants have adapted to a wide variety of environments, and explores the process of evolution.

Lecture resources/handouts:
Evolutionary Concepts
What are Adaptations?
Adaptations, Evolution and Conservation
Adaptations and Evolution Vocabulary
Global Conservation Issues

Evolutionary Concepts Puzzle
Adaptations Treasure Hunt
Adaptations Hunt practice worksheet
What do you Wonder?
Adaptations Tram Tour Worksheet (for use during Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden tram tour)
Other Homework or Classroom Exercises

VII. Palms: From Seed to Tree (back to menu)

Explore the unique characteristics of palms - from seed to mature plant - with Dr. Jack Fisher, a Fairchild Palm Biologist. These activities are sponsored by an NSF grant (0620827) to FTBG.

Lecture resources/handouts:
What's a palm leaf?
How are palm leaves different?
Do palms have flowers?
How do palms grow?
Growth in the Tropics, Part I
Growth in the Tropics, Part II
Fairchild Guide to Palms

Palm Leaves 
Are palms monocots or dicots?
Furniture Detective
Schoolyard Palmetum

VIII. Activities for Young Learners  (back to menu)

These activities are great for young explorers and junior naturalists. They may be done in a backyard, in a school yard habitat, or on a visit to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Garden Math.pdf 
Living with Plants.pdf
Parts of a Plant.pdf
Root Top Garden.pdf
Soil Scavenger hunt.pdf 
Roots, Fruits and Seeds
Flower Friends
Terrarium Activity.pdf


IX. Fundamentals of Scientific Research  (back to menu)

Assist your students in formulating, designing and conducting research projects.  Explore different types of projects, experimental design, sampling and measurement, analysis of experimental data and individual components of dissemination.

Fundamentals of Scientific Research Overview
Pollination Web Poster
Native Mutualism Poster
Floral Observation Worksheet

last updated 9/12

X. Tropical Botany  (back to menu)

Tropical Botany Plant Links