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Maine’s Flora

School: King Middle School

City/State: Portland, ME

Grade(s): 7

Format(s): Field guide: Natural science

Subject(s): Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview

This field guide was created by 7th grade students at the King Middle School in Portland, Maine, as part of a Learning Expedition entitled, “A Park Grows in Portland.” A subset of the larger class created this field guide – students who had finished their work on the primary field guide and wanted an additional challenge.

Students worked with an arborist from the city in outdoor fieldwork research, and gathered additional information through internet research and reading books.

The creation of the field guide was an interdisciplinary project that involved the science, math, language, social studies, art and computer teachers. Parent volunteers also assisted.

Each entry contains a written description of a plant and basic identifying characteristics. To accompany the writing, students also created a color illustration of a plant found in Maine, as well as a detailed drawing of a close-up section from that plant. Student writing and illustrations went through many revisions.

At the end of the field guide, students included a glossary and a list of the references they used to create the guide.

This product is from the same Learning Expedition as other student products in this archive: project numbers 198 and 214, but is a field guide on a different topic, made by a different group of 7th graders. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Very high quality, colored scientific illustrations drawn by middle school students
  • Line, dot and color shading is strong
  • Includes excellent information about a large number of plants found in Maine
  • The thorough introduction, glossary and bibliography helps to orient the reader
  • Exemplifies a product with an authentic audience and one with a real purpose
  • Illustrations are lovely – accurate with much detail. See Bunchberry, page 7; Huckleberry, page 13; Smooth Winterberry, page 23
  • Writing is descriptive and interesting to read. See sentences such as, “The splash of pink each white flower’s center makes it easily recognizable” (Painted Trillium)
  • Follows professional field-guide format but still allows student voice to shine through

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and concepts using relevant information that is carefully selected and organized.
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose and audience.
  • With support from peers and adults, I can use a writing process to ensure that purpose and audience have been addressed.
  • I can use a standard format for citation.
  • I can use correct grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • I can use correct capitalization, punctuation and spelling to send a clear message to my reader.
  • I can use resources to build my vocabulary.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
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