Herbarium Scrapbook

OverviewDuring this activity children will have the opportunity to explore their region and learn about the local flora by creating a herbarium album
Learning objectives• Awareness about the regional plants and herbs • Participation in a collective and creative activity • Encouragement to preserve nature
Skills developed• Focus of attention • Team spirit development • Creativity and motor skills
MethodField trip / plant collection-pressing-mounting / research
MaterialsLunch bag or envelope or small basket for plant collection; secateurs or scissors for clipping; tweezers; Non-toxic PVA glue; sticky tape; paintbrush; A4 cardboard paper sheets; A4 tracing or parchment paper; newspaper sheets; weighty books or other flat heavy object; twine or string; paper perforator; coloured pencils or markers (optional); protection gloves and face mask
Important notice: when scheduling the activity, the facilitator should be aware of the time the plants will need to dry (usually 4-5 days waiting).
The activity is divided in 4 parts:
I. Field trip --> Plant collection (90 minutes)
Each child group is accompanied by a facilitator to an outdoors location (e.g., local park, forest, hill, botanical garden, etc.). Face mask and protection gloves necessary to prevent potential allergies and protect from any harmful plants. It is important to create small groups in order for the facilitator to be able to intervene if and when needed. Every child collects at least 3 herbs, flowers, branches, or leaves. The facilitator helps with the clipping (secateurs must not be handed to children).
II. Scrapbook stage 1 --> Plant pressing and drying (90 minutes)
Upon return from the field trip the facilitator guides the group through the process of pressing and drying the collected items.
Pressing procedure:
1. A cardboard paper sheet is put in the middle of an unfolded newspaper sheet.
2. The children lay their collected items flat on the cardboard sheet (they might need to use tweezers to set them up), gently cover them with another cardboard paper sheet, fold the newspaper and secure it with sticky tape.
3. The packed plant pile is sandwiched between 2 weighty books or other flat heavy object used.
4. The new pile is tightly tied with twine or string and sits to dry for 4-5 days.
III. Scrapbook stage 2 --> Plant mounting and decoration (90 minutes)
This is the most creative stage of the activity.
1. The children open each plant package very carefully.
2. Using the newspaper sheet as tablecloth, they brush non-toxic PVA glue to one side of each plant and stick it on the cardboard paper (at this stage the second cardboard paper sheet is removed).
3. The children pile the cardboard sheets adding 1 sheet of tracing or parchment paper between each cardboard sheet.
4. When this process is completed, using the paper perforator they open 2 holes on each paper sheet (the holes must be at exactly the same point on all sheets).
5. The children create and decorate the cover page of the album (which also is perforated).
6. The scrapbook is bonded with twine or string (through the holes).
IV. Scrapbook stage 3 --> Online research on collected plants / information addition (90 minutes)
Once the Herbarium is ready, the children under the facilitator’s supervision conduct an online research on the collected plants in order to identify them. The gathered information can be copied next to the relevant items in the album. The online resource proposed in the Additional Materials section can help identifying the collected plants. The facilitator might need to assist the younger children.
TipsAdditional materialsHow to apply online?What to do at home?
Visual guidelines about the pressing procedure can be found online.
The Herbarium can be a collective project displayed in the classroom.
Additional materials:
The website https://identify.plantnet.org/ offers an online plant image identification tool.
How to apply online?
This activity cannot take place online.
What to do at home:
Same method and principles can be applied at home, exploring the garden.
AuthorM. V. Kokota (CSI)
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