Exploring Plants

Exploring Indigenous Plants of the Portland Area

The third grade Winter/Spring trimester work this year focused on learning about Indigenous people of the Columbia river region by studying native plants and their uses.  Guiding questions of this unit were: How have plants been used to support life? What is the relationship between indigenous people and plants? How have plants influenced different Indigenous communities?

Students began this unit mapping plants outside of their homes and in their neighborhoods. Each week students were introduced to a new plant such as Cedar, Camas, Nettle, Wild Strawberry.  Indigenous educators Christine and Clifton Bruno visited the class remotely to teach about one of these plants. Students worked independently to create posters that reflected their understanding.  Students then worked with Mike and Bryna from the organization Super Nature Adventures to create a map of Native Plants of Portland.

Student research and drawings are featured in the beautiful final product which also features artwork and design from Mike and Bryna. The planning and production of the map was completed in partnership with Clifton and Christine, who helped guide our plant and location choices, as well as the verbage and design. We are thrilled to share this map with partner agencies, organizations and with the wider community. Much gratitude to our third graders and all of the people whose efforts made this project possible!

This mapping project was funded by our grant from the Gray Family Foundation- thank you!

Download ‘Exploring Indigenous Plants of the Portland Area’




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