Plant Patterns

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In this outdoor mapping activity, learners explore where plants grow and map plant-distribution patterns. Learners also investigate environmental factors such as wind, light, moisture, and animal activity that affect plant distribution in nature, and examine "important" plants in their activity site that give clues to what brought them there.

Quick Guide

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • map sections, 40 cm X 50 cm
  • felt pens
  • pieces of cardboard or file folder (20 cm X 30 cm)
  • plastic collection bags
  • plastic bags containing 8 different color self-adhesive labels
  • rolls of transparent tape
  • ribbon or flagging
  • data board or large drawing pad
  • black felt pen


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Populations
      • Biodiversity
      • Human Impact

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Regents of the University of California, 1982