What's in a Name?
Unit Title:What's in a Name?
Abstract:In this lesson, students will learn about the process of classifying and naming plants including common and scientific names.
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Instructional Materials Needed (if applicable):
Picture books: Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, Karl, Get Out of the Garden!: Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything by Anita Sanchez
Samples of enough different plants from the school garden so that students can share one sample among groups of 3 or 4
Container with water to store the plants
Digital device for photos
Scrap paper and pencils or markers
Field guide and/or plant catalogs with common and scientific names of the sampled plants
Wisconsin Standards for English Language Arts Addressed (ELA Full Document or Literacy in All Subject Areas Full Document):
Speaking and Listening Standard 1:
Wisconsin Standards for Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Standards Addressed (Full Document or searchable spreadsheet):
ELS.C1.C.i Investigate and classify natural and designed objects, formulate questions about the relationship between physical and natural characteristics of the environment (e.g., soil/plants, water/animals), identify patterns, make predictions, and solve problems through sensory observations and active exploration outdoors.
Evidence of Need:
State current status of student performance based on evidence
Evidence of Success:
State what meeting the standard(s) looks like through formative assessment
Inquiry Experience 1
Setting and Estimated Time: Classroom 30 min.
I can discuss and identify at least three considerations important during naming of plants.
Students are able to share personal experiences of naming whether their own, pets, friends or family. They will make a list several naming conventions that may also apply to plants.
Teacher will read the picture book Alma and How She Got Her Name. Discuss how names are given by families. Students may turn to one or two other students to share how their family gave them their name or how someone has created a nickname for them or how they have come up with a name for a pet or any stories of naming they may be familiar within their family or friends.
As a class, discuss the possible types of things that go into choosing a name. Read relevant portions of the picture book Karl, Get Out of the Garden!: Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything. Fun fact: he left an order for the possibility of creatures such as unicorns called Paradoxa. Explore his method of classification.
In small groups (have students get up and move to make these groups), students create a list of at least three considerations when naming plant and animal life then share with the class.
Inquiry Experience 2
Setting and Estimated Time: Outdoor classroom or somewhere near where the plants are growing, 30 minutes
I can collaborate to create a name that encompasses information gained during investigation and observation.
In groups, students will create a name and provide a rational for that name. This will be visible in the photo taken at the end of the lesson.
Get students in a large circle. Bring vase or other container filled with water and sample plants.
Have students review what naming conventions are considered when naming plants. This could be a turn and talk & then a share out.
Randomly pass out plant samples. Each student should get only one sample. There should be at least two of each type, but can be many more if you don't have many samples. Ideally there should be 3 or 4 people in the group who have the same plant type. Once the plants are distributed, ask students to group themselves with the other people who have the same plant they are holding.
Next, students have a few minutes to observe their plant with the naming considerations in mind. They should talk about what they notice and then they will need to come to consensus about the name. When they have consensus, they must write it on their scrap of paper.
When groups seem to be finished, one person from each group will need to share what name they chose. Group members should offer up their rationale - why did they choose that particular name (there are no wrong answers here).
As a group finishes sharing, the teacher may tell them at least one of the common names of the plant and they may compare/contrast that with their choice. Take a quick photo of each group with their plant holding up the name on their paper.
Inquiry Experience 3
Setting and Estimated Time: Outside near area where plants were found for the prior experience. 30 min.
I can identify a plant using field guides or other resources.
Students will identify and classify a plant using field guides or other identification resources. This will be assessed by viewing the photos of the students with their plant and the included names.
Lead the students to the are where the plants were found. See if the groups can locate their plant again. To check, bring the photos from the prior lesson for comparison. Have them grab their samples from the prior lesson from the container if they are still alive. Otherwise pick new ones.
Demonstrate how to use a field guide (paper or digital) looking at the characteristics of the plant. Have students regroup with a field guide, scrap paper and a writing utensil. Students work together to identify their plant. When they believe they have correctly identified the plant, they should write the scientific and common names on their scrap paper. Once finished, they should take one more photo with both their created name and the names from the field guide.
Double check your plan for evidence of high quality instructional ELA materials as outlined by EdReports.org:
Two picture books about names and naming. A field guide to flowers in WI. A plant catalog & a vase of flowers from our rain garden. All used in lessons about classification and naming of plants. All items are sitting outside in the sun since portions of the lesson were done outside.