Exploring Wildflowers and Plants Through the Wildflower Center

Exploring Wildflowers and Plants Through the Wildflower Center
Lady Bird Johnson: First Ladies' Lives

Skill: High School/College
Time Required: Five to six class periods


Lady Bird enjoyed flowers as well as being an activist (Beautification Act of 1965) for the environment.  In 1982, Lady Bird donated 60 acres and $125,000 for the National Wildflower Research Center.  The national membership expanded in time with a total of 7,500 members.  The center sponsored events and researched ways to use wild flowers.  An idea was conceived to plant wild flowers along the edge of the roadways and highways, which saved millions of dollars annually since the need for mowing and maintenance was decreased.


Students will research wildflowers using the internet.
Students will design and create model flowers.
Students will utilize computer spreadsheets to record and organize flower information.

Materials Required:

Computer, Internet access, word processor (MS Word), printer, digital camera (optional), presentation program (MS PowerPoint), spreadsheet program (MS Excel), and food items.


  1. Introduce students to plants and flowers through the wildflower center.
  2. Divide students into groups
  3. Each group will choose a flower within the geographical area they want to research.
  4. When researching, students will locate the answers to these questions: (Use the Wildflowers web link to search their database to answer these questions.)
    a.       What is the common name of your flower?
    b.      What is the technical or official name of your flower?
    c.       What is the propagation mechanism of the plant (bulb, seed, etc.)
    d.      When is the best time of year to plant the flower?
    e.       Is the flower perennial or annual?
    f.        What does the flower look like when in full bloom? (Describe and provide an image from the Internet or digital camera.)
  5. Have a spreadsheet created (using a program such as MS Excel) for students with the proper information listed above.  Allow students to enter the information found during the research process.
  6. Have students create a presentation (such as PowerPoint) about the flower researched.
  7. Students will then plan and create an ‘edible’ flower.  Students have to create a model of their flower using only edible food items.
  8. Have students present their presentation and edible model to the class.
  9. Allow students to view each model and have a “Flower Party” to eat the food brought into class.
  10. Allow students to search the spreadsheet database to create a flowerbed at the school.  Students will be able to plant the flower previously researched and watch it grow throughout the year.

Extending the Lesson:

  • Allow students to continue to update and add to the database.  Then choose another location either on the school grounds or at another public place such as a library, church, or hospital, to create another flowerbed.
  • Create a web site as a class and link presentations, images of edible model flowers, and images of class flowerbed at the school.

Sources & Resources:

  • Gould, L.L. (1996).  American first ladies: Their lives and their legacy. New York,  New York: Garland Publishing

This lesson was developed by Marian Maxfield, Kent State University