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Improving Math & Science Learning: Flower Power
Identifying Flower Families through Flower Shapes

Field location:
Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 
1000 Washington Avenue, 
Brooklyn, NY 11225. 
Phone: (718) 622-4433. 
School Programs: X216 or X276

Take the D, Q, or Shuttle train to Prospect Park and Flatbush Ave. Enter at Eastern Pkwy Gate, Parking Lot Gate, or Flatbush Avenue Gate. 

No food or beverages allowed, except in the cafe area. If you are taking bagged lunches, have the children write their names on their bags before placing them in a large bag. Hand the lunches to a guard at the ADMINISTRATIVE ENTRANCE. The lunches will be held for you until you are ready to leave. I would suggest having the children bring a snack to eat on the way to the garden. You should be back in time for school lunch. School groups may enter for free; tell the cashier that you are a teacher and be prepared to show some ID. 

Note: Find out from parents if any of the children have allergic reactions to pollen and whether or not they need medication.
Garden Hours:
April - September.

Tuesday - Friday, 8 am - 6 pm 
Weekends & Holidays, 10 am - 6 pm 
October - March
Tuesday - Friday, 8 am -  4:30 pm 

Conservatory Hours:
April - September
Tuesday - Sunday & Holidays, 10 am - 5:30 pm
October - March 
Tuesday - Sunday & Holidays,10 am - 4 pm
Weekends & Holidays, 10 am - 4:30 pm

To learn how to identify or classify flowers in their families through observation of flower features.

The children will be working in groups of four or five touring the grounds and completing the scavenger hunt sheet while under the supervision of at least one adult.

As a result of this activity and field trip, the children will:
  1. Appreciate and demonstrate using a map.
  2. Appreciate and demonstrate working in cooperative groups.
  3. Be able to identify the family of a flower by observing the flower shape.
Materials: Motivation:
  1. This introductory activity to flower families should be conducted the day before the trip. Divide the children into groups of four or five and assign the following jobs for each group: recorder, speaker, and leader.
  2. Tell the children that although there are many different kinds of flowers, scientists have found a way to classify flowers through their features. Hand out the "Flower and Their Families" worksheets, the "Flower Power" chart, and the gardening catalogs to the groups. Let them start working.
  3. Allow each group 30 minutes to collaborate, and conclude by having everyone share their findings. Then have the groups write down the names of the flowers under their family heading on the class chart.
Procedure at the Botanical Garden:
  1. Since the bathrooms and maps are located at the Visitor Center, the field trip will begin and end there. Take this time to center the children, talk about what they will be doing, and explain that they have an hour to complete it. Hand out the maps, clipboards, pencils, and "Brooklyn Botanical Garden Scavenger Hunt" sheets. Make sure each group has at least one adult supervisor during the hunt. 
  2. The scavenger hunt sheet requires the children to visit three sites: The Fragrance Garden, the Cranford Rose Garden, and the Steinhardt Conservatory. The groups are also asked to pick a site from the map and visit it. During this time, you should be taking pictures of the groups while they are working.
As the groups arrive at the Visitor Center, allow them to use the bathroom and wash up before leaving. They should be back in time for school lunch. If you return to school fairly early, discuss any thoughts or observations the class might have about the trip.

For the remainder of the day, students can write in their science journals about what they have observed and their favorite part of the garden. Also discuss the class's answers to their worksheets.

Each student will be growing and maintaining his/her own pot of flowers, which will be taken home at the end of the school year.

Students are assessed by their science journal entry, "Brooklyn Botanical Garden Scavenger Hunt" sheets, the "Flowers and Their Families" and "Flower Power" sheets, and the documentation of the scavenger hunt. Their ability to work cooperatively and independently as well as their ability to classify flowers will also be assessed.

Botanists use flower shape as well as other characteristics to classify plants. The Rose family (Rosaceae) consists of plants such as the rose, cherry, and strawberry. The Figwort family (Scrophulariaceae) consists of plants such as foxgloves and snapdragons. The Violet family (Violaceae) consists of violet and pansies. The Pea Family (Fabaceae) consists of the peanut, clover, and pea.

Inside a Flower
Soil Investigation
Flower Investigation
Fruit or Vegetable?
Where Am I?
Seed Dissection
Flowers Galore
Pollination & Fertilization
Flowers & Their Families
Plant Parts & Their Jobs
Identifying Flower Families through Flower Shapes
Brooklyn Botanical Garden Scavenger Hunt

This lesson is part of Flower Power by Rosemarie Young. 

Grade Levels:

Subjects: science, math,  social studies

Time required:
One hour during early June.

Beginning Grade

Ending Grade Level: 

e-mail Rosemarie


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