UW’s Rocky Mountain Herbarium Launches K-12 Initiative



Volunteer Madison Dale, of Laramie, shows the 1 millionth plant specimen — a Wyoming Indian paintbrush — mounted at UW’s Rocky Mountain Herbarium in 2020. Phenomenon-based lessons that use the resources of the world-class herbarium are now available to K-12 educators and students in Wyoming. (UW Photo)

From UW News

The Rocky Mountain Herbarium at the University of Wyoming has long welcomed students of all ages. Now, the herbarium’s leaders are working to make it accessible to teachers and students in classrooms across the state who cannot travel to UW’s main campus.

Matt Bisk, a graduate student from Mount Laurel, N.J., in UW’s Science and Math Teaching Center and graduate assistant to the UW Biodiversity Institute, created phenomenon-based lessons that use the resources of the Rocky Mountain Herbarium. Phenomenon-based learning requires students to explore and explain an observable phenomenon.

Explicit connections to Wyoming science standards are provided for all grade levels; however, most of the lessons may be most appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students.

Resources and lesson suggestions are provided so that students can continue their explorations in multiple directions, including the information and supplies for students and teachers to begin exploring and documenting the diversity of plants in their communities by building their own herbarium.

In addition to the online resources, educators can request the loan of a kit that includes supplies to support student activities, such as full-size prints of the specimens, books, native grass seeds and even a plant press.

Find the online resources and request a kit.

The Rocky Mountain Herbarium has long been a leader in specimen digitization, and its database and images are used daily by researchers around the world. However, those resources have not, until now, been readily accessible to K-12 students and educators.

Learn more on UW News.

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