Discover the magic and importance of California native plants by exploring the Ethnobotanical Garden at the Autry Museum of the American West! Students will observe and learn about 11 different California native plants, as well as the important ecological relationships between plants, animals, and people.
CA HSS 3.1.2
CA HSS 4.1.3
- Students can map out the locations of the plants in each section of the tour, write the plant name and/or draw an image, and discuss the types of plants in different geographic areas.
- Students can be broken up into groups to look for leaf shape, flower color, size or other physical characteristics, document and discuss the findings.
- Students can also document the uses identified in some of the plants and discuss the various uses of plants – food, medicine, tools, etc.
Teaching Tips for Different Learning Environments
Whole Class In-Person Learning: Break up video into various lessons. Intro (0-2:55); How Plants Help Us? (2:55-9:16); How Can We Help Plants (9:16-10:18); Recap & Concluding Questions (10:18-10:25). For “How Plants Help Us?” assign different groups things to note for the plant or tree: What it looks like, where it grows, and importance/use. Or, assign individual students to take notes on those items for one of the following plants: Yarro, Yerba Mansa, Wild Grape, California Redbud, Deer Grass, Coast Live Oak, Elderberry, Wooly Blue Curls, Arroyo Willows, Catalina Cherry Tree, White Sage.
Whole Class Distance Learning: Same as above but use breakout rooms for groups.
Tech Fun: Students use a citizen science application to collect information about the plants in the backyard or neighborhood such as iNaturalist, Project Noah, or CitizenScience.gov to create your own project.
Links to Associated Education Resources
- Lessons: Native Plant Leaf Rubbing Activity (grades K-2)
- Lessons: Art in Nature (grades 3-5)
- Digital Gallery Tour: California Native Plants Digital Gallery Tour
Educational Programs at the Autry are sponsored by:
AIR CONDITIONING DEPOT • AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL • PHYLLIS H. BARBATO • MOLLY AND NEAL H. BROCKMEYER • CAROLE E. BUSS • THE CAPITAL GROUP COMPANIES CHARITABLE FOUNDATION • FRANK H. COUNTNER AND SUSAN L. COUNTNER • DWIGHT STUART YOUTH FUND • EDISON INTERNATIONAL • DAVID F. EISENBERG • THE KENNETH T. AND EILEEN L. NORRIS FOUNDATION • MAX H. GLUCK FOUNDATION • CARL W. ROBERTSON AND SUSAN W. ROBERTSON • ANN C. RONUS AND ROBERT E. RONUS • BRENDA AND GARY RUTTENBERG • SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT • THE STEINMETZ FOUNDATION • THELMA PEARL HOWARD FOUNDATION • UNION BANK • U.S. BANK