The U.S. Botanic Garden is open as scheduled, having been funded for the current fiscal year.
Thank you for thinking of the Garden as an extension of your classroom. The following lessons can be taught at a variety of instructional levels. Please complete the field trip request form to schedule your field trip and let us know how we can best support your classroom instruction while on site at the Garden.
Available Hands-on Lessons
The following hands-on lessons are available for classes with 30 or fewer students. We will provide a welcome, an overview of the Garden, and a 45-minute classroom lesson.
From Seed To Flower
Students will learn where seeds come from and how incredibly different seeds can be. We will unfold a seed's life cycle and explore a plant's needs. Students will create wearable greenhouses.
Soil: Dig In
Students will explore and map soil to better understand its complexity. We will explore the relationships between soil and plants. Students will combine soil with clay and seeds to make seed balls.
Students will learn the parts of a flower and the special relationships that exist between flowers and their pollinators. Students will create 3D flower models and become pollinators to better understand mutualism and the science behind pollination.
Students learn how plants survive in desert environments. We explore biomes and adaptations and contrast these adaptations to how plants might survive in a tropical environment. Students will express what they have learned through the creation of a desert diorama.
Architecture of a Flower
Students are guided through a flower dissection to better understand the intentional design and the reason for a flower. Students will be challenged to sketch and watercolor and connect their art to flower function.
Sugar Happens: A Lesson on Photosynthesis
How do you understand something you cannot see? During this lesson, students will experiment with air, use microscopes to view stomata and test the hypothesis that plants make their own food.
Plant Science of a Chocolate Chip Cookie
During this lesson students will learn about the plants behind the ingredients in a chocolate chip cookie. We will explore the geography of vanilla, cacao and sugar cane, the botany behind each of these plants and the complex processes in making vanilla extract, chocolate and sugar.
Plant Classification and Plant DNA
Students will learn about plant names, families and plant classification. Students will conduct a plant DNA extraction and learn how the discovery of a plant's DNA is changing plant science.
Now You See Me Now You Don't: Plant Conservation
Students will explore the reasons plants go extinct from habitat loss to invasive species and learn of the efforts being made to protect and conserve plants. We will explore our Conservatory and students will create their own barrel cactus.
Students will learn what it means to be native and through guided instruction, explore our outdoor Regional Garden. Students will observe plants in whatever season they are visiting and will learn about annuals and perennials, evergreens and deciduous and why native plantings are so important for our ecosystem.
Hands-On Discovery Stations
The following informal educational discovery stations are available for group of 30-60 students. We will provide a welcome to the Garden and one of the following hands-on discovery stations that small groups can rotate through. Advance reservations are required.
Hands-on discovery station topics
- Chocolate and the Reason for a Flower
- The Rich World of Soil
- Life Cycle of a Seed
- Ferns and Fossils
- How Plants Work: Photosynthesis