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
Unit X. Tropical Botany

I. School Gardens

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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:

School Garden Basics PPT
School Garden Design PPT
School Garden Resources                      
Native Plants for your Garden
Butterfly Plants for your Garden
Pine Rockland Plants for your Garden
Connect to Protect Network
Pizza Theme School Garden


Garden Math
Garden Poetry
Learning with Leaves
Life Cycles
Living with Plants
Parts of a Plant
Root Top Garden
Soil Detectives

Biodiversity Plot 
Coordinate Grid Garden
Flower Press Activity
Foreign Language in the Garden
Health Nutrition Labels
Plant Survey Activity 
Pollen Movers
Seed Dispersal
Super Garden Botany
Using Your Pine Rockland School Garden

II. South Florida Plants and Ecosystems

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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

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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 Are We Eating

IV. Basic Botany

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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


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

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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

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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

VI. Palms: From Seed to Tree

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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

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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
Living with Plants
Parts of a Plant
Root Top Garden
Soil Scavenger Hunt
Flower Friends
Terrarium Activity

IX. Fundamentals of Scientific Research

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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

X. Tropical Botany

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Lecture resources/handouts:

Tropical Botany Plant Links