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  Image that says Activities: Science.

Many members of the Corps of Discovery learned to be scientists on the expedition. For instance, they were biologists noting new species of plants and animals. And they were astronomers using the stars to guide their path.

In the following activity you are a botanist. You must explore the area and identify plants the way the Corps did.

Title

Discovering New Plants with Meriwether Lewis

Materials

  • Botany activity worksheets and pencils
  • Pressed and dried plant specimens
  • Blotter paper and wooden press frames
  • Access to collectible plants
  • Plant identification guide for local plant species
  • Resources on folklore stories and medicinal uses of plants

Procedure
Image of a plant.
You'll describe the features of a pressed plant.

Print out the botany worksheet. Use scientific vocabulary to write a description of a pressed plant based on the following:

  • Arrangement of the leaves-alternate, opposite, or whorled along the stem.
  • Shape of the leaves-entire or compound; lobed (pinnately or palmately), toothed, dissected, heart-shaped, ovate, lanceolate, or linear.
  • Arrangement of the flowers-single, umbel, spike, sessile, cyme, or head.
  • Shape of the flowers-regular, irregular, or composite.
  • Color of the flowers.
  • Number of petals and stamens.

Pretend you discovered this "new" plant. Think of a name and share it with the group. Write a folktale about your plant. Share it with the class.

Use a dichotomous key to look up the actual name of the plant. How close was your name to the one that botanists gave the plant?


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