Plant Collections


Plants can be a challenging unit to teach to students. They aren’t as “exciting” or well recognized as animals are, and can be passed unnoticed. They are, however, an integral part of our planet and without them, we (animals in general) could not exist. One way to get students actively involved in the plant world is to give them a goal, and a little permanent recognition.

By teaching students how to properly collect and document any plant specimen, from “weeds” to flashy native species, they can gain permanent recognition in an actual scientific institution where their contribution could be used around the world- their local Herbarium. In Kansas, there are two such institutions, Kansas State Herbarium (KSC) and at the University of Kansas (KANU). While both are fantastic sources of information about plant diversity, K-State has placed their collection online in a database for easier access to those outside the institution.

In a collaborative effort with the K-State Herbarium, the following lesson plans and state standard correlations are designed to help educators make use of this great resource to engage students in ongoing “real, live” scientific research, and open the world of plants to them. Any of these lessons can be modified up or down to fit multiple grade levels, and any suggestions on how to improve them would be greatly appreciated. Please use any portion or all of this body of work to bring plants to life for your students and yourself.

Letter from Tonia Carlson to High School Educators – Wabaunsee County High School teacher and K-State Herbarium Research Associate

Applicable Kansas Science Standards

Plant Collecting Lesson Plans [.doc]

Student handout: Field Trip Rules [.doc]

Tonia Carlson

Life Science

Wabaunsee High School, Alma, KS