These sites display a variety of species with clear and in-depth descriptions. They are climate sensitive so students can witness the variety in its real environment. Comparisons/contrasts can be made easily.
More than 200 years ago, George Washington had a vision for the capital city of the United States that included a botanic garden that would demonstrate and promote the importance of plants to the young nation. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the United States Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America.
The United States Botanic Garden has Plant Science Fact Sheets and other resources available on-line. Check out Landscape for Life or the North American Orchid Conservation Center.
The Hawaiian Islands have an interesting variety of plant species, with about half being native species and half being introduced species. Under Native Status, check out Canoe Plants.
This site features photographs and descriptions of 160 different Hawaiian flower and plant species organized by flower color and other plant characteristics.
Wish for a paradise or the Garden of Edens? The Living Edens is an inspiring natural history available from PBS, opening magical vistas through the expertise of world-acclaimed natural history filmmakers. State-of-the-art cinematography creates an intimate sense of place and captures a world of wonder, transporting students to isolated, undisturbed corners of the globe. The site provides a Teacher Resources section containing additional classroom activities and guides.
Created by Henry Shaw and given as a gift to the city of St. Louis, the Missouri Botanical Garden opened to the public in 1859. It combined horticultural display with education and the search for new knowledge.
Today, 158 years after opening, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark and a center for science and conservation, education and horticultural display. The Garden provides a wide range of in-person, on-line and professional development resources for the K-12 community.
Many museums and botanical gardens have an on-line section with educational material. Here is an example from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which exhibits an extensive collection of plants native to the Sonoran desert. What resources do your nearby botanical gardens provide?
The Chicago Botanic Garden offers a variety of resource kits for educators to use in the classroom. The kits are free, with a refundable deposit to make sure they are returned. Kit topics include Aquatic Illinois, Illinois Prairies, Wild Mammals, and Illinois Trees.
These resources are especially appropriate as an introduction to online research at the secondary level where prescribed content is taught in preparation for college tests. They are easily adaptable for group work.