Finding resources to help you engage students for learning about plants may seem difficult, but the help is out there. A wealth of apps and online resources are available to you, from games to botanical encyclopedias, to help you develop lessons and activities about plants.
Plantpedia, available for Apple products, offers a comprehensive encyclopedia of plant life, accessible to a wide range of ages. Since it is appropriate for both scholar and student, it will likely be out of reach for younger students. The app offers a search mechanism that lets users find plant life by common name, scientific name, or even by the state where it grows, along with a host of pictures and diagrams of each specimen. This app also features an “identify” function that allows users to try to figure out what plant is being featured simply by its color, orientation, or shape.
Learn About Plants is geared toward kids, with the stated purpose of “awakening” their natural curiosity about the world around them. Users can choose one of several different options, including topics like the life cycle of a plant, how the plant creates food, and how to grow a plant. Be aware: though the app says that it’s free, to access the videos associated with these topics, you must pay a fee. However, you can also access most of the videos on the APPUSERIES You Tube channel, so enterprising teachers may choose to do just that.
This alliteratively titled series of apps comes divided into various seasons and types (i.e. Fall, Spring, Fruits, etc.) with a special focus: edible plants. They look just like you would imagine electronic flash cards would look, with a beautiful color photo on one side and information on the other. This could be an interesting hook for students to learn about wild plants.
If you’re looking for a fun way to incorporate a admittedly non-technical understanding of horticulture and plant management into your free time activities, Flower Farm may be an interesting app to use. While definitely not scientifically accurate, the growth patterns and the addictive quality of planting something and harvesting it may excite students about plants and their growth.
Enchanted Learning is an online resource for teachers that features lesson plans and activities for a wealth of subjects. The same is true for the subject of plants, geared toward younger students. Those teachers who choose to pay a subscription fee have access to printable worksheets and don’t have to deal with ads, but even if you don’t you can see some of the activities that other teachers have used, including whole units focused on, for example, flowers (which has an incredibly impressive amount of material).
Science Kids, a website out of New Zealand, features a similar set of learning objectives and resources, including multimedia games and videos. Experiments, quizzes, and activities are included, as well as a few fairly basic lesson plans that may be helpful in at least spurring your own imagination. These resources, too, are geared toward younger students but could possibly be adapted (with some creativity) for older students.
Samantha Kotey is the editor for AvatarGeneration and has a background in educational technology and virtual worlds. A mom of two, she is passionate about all things related to toys and technology.