This can be used as a geography lesson, talking about the different ecosystems in the world. It is also a science lesson since climate has a big impact on what plants grow where. For more information on this idea, see our Science Ideas page.
Since moss grows on the north side of trees, a study of plants can be a great way to learn directions. First, discuss moss. Moss is not a regular plant like the ones that will be studied throughout they unit, so you will have to do a little bit of research about how moss grows, etc. in order to give your kids a little background knowledge. After they are familiar with moss, and the fact that it grows on the north side of trees, give them a puzzle or map and ask them to tell you the directions people are moving, etc. You could also let them role-play a situation where someone gets lost in the woods and has to find their way home.
Transportation of Food:
The food we buy at the grocery store down the street was not grown there, it came from somewhere else. Talk about the different ways food gets places (boat, car, train, airplane, etc.). Divide the class into cooperative learning groups, and ask each group to create something that could transport food. Have them explain what they are transporting, where they are taking it from, and where they will end up.
One of the ways people have used plants for centuries is to make dyes. Find some plants that will create a dye. Some are: onion skins, purple cabbages, beets, marigolds, sagebrush, etc. Boil the plant in water to extract the color. The colored water is your dye. Put yarn in the dye (make sure it is made from natural fibers) and boil it until it is slightly darker than you want it. Let the yarn dry, and you can have the kids make bracelets. (Information on dyeing from Dr. Rebecca Monhardt, Utah State University, Department of Elementary Education)
Find recipes, or people in your community from other cultures. Bring them in to make the foods that they eat, focusing on the foods they make from plants. Allow the students to taste the foods from different cultures.
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