Plants
for learning

Explore the PAPPUS curriculum-linked learning springboards

The Pappus 'learning springboards' offer easy entry points into rich and memorable learning using plants as a resource, inspiration and context.  

Organised by curriculum subject and by age range, there are hundreds of teacher tried-and-tested prompts to stimulate innovative and purposeful teaching.

Use the drop-down menus below to find exactly what you need.

To search again, choose a different subject or age range and click SUBMIT.

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Twig clinometer

Twig clinometer

Maths

Measure the height of trees

vek:

10-12, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Data Handling and Estimating

Data Handling and Estimating

Maths

Using natural objects in mathematical problems

vek:

10-12, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Living Walls: Plants in architecture

Living Walls: Plants in architecture

Creative Arts

Mastery of the techniques of great artists, architects and designer

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Measures and Measuring

Measures and Measuring

Maths

Any leaf can be used as a ‘non-standard’ unit of measure

vek:

8-10, 10-12

A Pappus Resource

Operations using brackets (and algebra)

Operations using brackets (and algebra)

Maths

Using natural materials to represent numbers

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

The First English Gardening Book - descriptive use of language when watering plants

The First English Gardening Book - descriptive use of language when watering plants

Literacy

The Gardener’s Labyrinth by Thomas Hill, 1577

vek:

10-12, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Language in Shakespeare

Language in Shakespeare

Literacy

Descriptive language using nettle and ivy

vek:

10-12, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Language of flowers: floriography

Language of flowers: floriography

Literacy

Exploring the coded language of flowers

vek:

10-12, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Guides to the school grounds using literacy and IT skills

Guides to the school grounds using literacy and IT skills

Literacy

Ideas for guides to the plants or other features in your grounds

vek:

10-12, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Turning over a new leaf

Turning over a new leaf

Literacy

Plants often feature in sayings, maxims, similes and aphorisms

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Interview with a tree - presentation

Interview with a tree - presentation

Literacy

Using information gained from non-fiction text

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Warm up and relaxation

Warm up and relaxation

Literacy

An introductory activity for many of the Literacy Springboards

vek:

10-12, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Romans: introducing non-native food plants – KS2

Romans: introducing non-native food plants – KS2

History

The impact of Roman empire on the flora of Europe

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Geography, food, agriculture. Food growing in floating farms

Geography, food, agriculture. Food growing in floating farms

Geography

STEM, global issues, growing food around the world - make a floating ‘farm’

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Local area investigations and field sketching

Local area investigations and field sketching

Geography

Focus on natural landscape features and habitats

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Hinduism

Hinduism

RE

Explore Hindu notions of ‘science’ and ‘spirit’

vek:

8-10, 10-12

Pappus Resource

Mindful observation

Mindful observation

PSHE

Close observation of a collected plant, flower or leaf

vek:

10-12, 8-10, 12-14

Pappus Resource

A winter walk

A winter walk

PSHE

Physically and emotionally healthy choices

vek:

10-12, 8-10, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Outdoor silent walk, or indoor contemplation

Outdoor silent walk, or indoor contemplation

PSHE

Developing mindfulness and taking time out

vek:

10-12, 8-10, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Creative activities using plant technologies

Creative activities using plant technologies

Design Technology

Curriculum

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Plant dissection – Dandelion

Plant dissection – Dandelion

Design Technology

Explore parts of a plant using a scalpel

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Food Growing

Food Growing

Design Technology

Construct a ‘keyhole’ garden

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Moral themes, prayer and meditation: Christianity

Moral themes, prayer and meditation: Christianity

RE

Trees as features and metaphors in the Bible

vek:

8-10, 10-12

Pappus Resource

Shakespeare’s plants and the images they paint through metaphors

Shakespeare’s plants and the images they paint through metaphors

Creative Arts

King Henry V wins the famous Battle of Agincourt

vek:

8-10, 10-12

Pappus Resource

Plant shapes and negative space

Plant shapes and negative space

Creative Arts

Exploring plant shapes, texture, negative space, composition

vek:

8-10, 10-12

Pappus Resource

Botanical art, flowers in clothing

Botanical art, flowers in clothing

Creative Arts

Exploring flowers and clothing

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Wind pollinated food

Wind pollinated food

Science

Understand the variety of foods that are wind pollinated

vek:

10-12, 12-14, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Grass whistles, dandelion flutes, whistles and pipes

Grass whistles, dandelion flutes, whistles and pipes

Creative Arts

Making wind instruments and sounds with natural materials

vek:

10-12, 12-14, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Pollution investigations - SO2 and particulates

Pollution investigations - SO2 and particulates

Science

Using lichen to investigate SO2 and looking at the effect of plants on particulate pollution in school grounds

vek:

12-14, 10-12

A Pappus Resource

Medicinal use of plants

Medicinal use of plants

Science

Why do nettles sting? And do dock leaves help?

vek:

10-12, 12-14, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Microclimates: what are heat islands?

Microclimates: what are heat islands?

Science

Identify heat islands and the effect of plants in mitigation

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Living things and their habitats

Living things and their habitats

Science

Sticky, seedy socks: “1 year’s seeds, 7 years’ weeds"

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Living things and their habitats
–
seed dispersal

Living things and their habitats

seed dispersal

Science

Explore methods of seed dispersal

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Living things and their habitats
–
working scientifically

Living things and their habitats

working scientifically

Science

Classification and plant ID keys

vek:

12-14, 10-12, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Drawing to scale: measuring the height of trees and presenting the data

Drawing to scale: measuring the height of trees and presenting the data

Maths

Find tree dimension facts from the Pappus Plant ID sheets

vek:

10-12, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Maths Trail and Number Bonds

Maths Trail and Number Bonds

Maths

Maths trail/orienteering using plants in the school ground

vek:

10-12, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Joining materials to make a stable structure

Joining materials to make a stable structure

Design Technology

Design to a brief; create and evaluate a climbing sculpture

vek:

10-12, 8-10, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Place value to 10,000,000

Place value to 10,000,000

Maths

Using natural objects to explore place value

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Budgeting

Budgeting

Maths

Grow your own plants and raise money for school

vek:

8-10, 10-12

A Pappus Resource

Poppy metaphors

Poppy metaphors

Literacy

Research non-fiction text and poetry

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Non-fiction text - Seed packets literacy

Non-fiction text - Seed packets literacy

Literacy

Finding and using information from a non-fiction text

vek:

10-12, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Estate agents’ particulars: insect’s eye view

Estate agents’ particulars: insect’s eye view

Literacy

Writing for a purpose – link to habitats

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Acrostic or Diamond poetry

Acrostic or Diamond poetry

Literacy

Use Pappus ID sheets for nettles

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Myths and legends

Myths and legends

Literacy

Use Pappus Elder ID sheet and further research

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Visualisation, Stanislavski - Non-fiction texts

Visualisation, Stanislavski - Non-fiction texts

Literacy

Use Non - fiction texts to research trees around school or local environment

vek:

10-12, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Place names and plants – KS2

Place names and plants – KS2

History

Derivation of place names from plants

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Stone + Iron Age hunter gatherer: Forage plants – KS2

Stone + Iron Age hunter gatherer: Forage plants – KS2

History

Research use of plants to support everyday life in this era

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Worldwide distribution of the Pappus 15 key plants

Worldwide distribution of the Pappus 15 key plants

Geography

Mapping the distribution of plants locally

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Zen gardens

Zen gardens

RE

Research and design a Japanese Zen garden

vek:

8-10, 10-12

Pappus Resource

Dandelion: a metaphorical bible story

Dandelion: a metaphorical bible story

RE

A Dandelion story for assembly or circle time.

vek:

8-10, 10-12

Pappus Resource

Hands-on growing

Hands-on growing

PSHE

Feeling welcome and valued – caring for plants

vek:

10-12, 8-10, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Yoga and Pilates

Yoga and Pilates

PSHE

Mindful exercise outdoors to manage complex feelings

vek:

10-12, 8-10, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Find time for mindfulness

Find time for mindfulness

PSHE

Mindfulness, self-worth and connection

vek:

10-12, 8-10, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Grow your own craft resources

Grow your own craft resources

Design Technology

Dogwood, willow and hazel provide a range of natural resources for use across the

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Hazel coppice crafts

Hazel coppice crafts

Design Technology

Harvest and use coppiced hazel in DT projects

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Hydroponics

Hydroponics

Design Technology

Researching different ways to grow food crops without soil

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Leaf mache face mask

Leaf mache face mask

Creative Arts

Make an expressive mask using leaf mache

vek:

8-10, 10-12

Pappus Resource

Masks of the Commedia dell’Arte

Masks of the Commedia dell’Arte

Creative Arts

Exploring comic archetypes

vek:

8-10, 10-12

Pappus Resource

Printing and sketch books

Printing and sketch books

Creative Arts

Four simple but creative ideas for leaf printing, sketch books and ephemeral art

vek:

12-14, 10-12, 8-10

A Pappus resource

Green man masks

Green man masks

Creative Arts

Make expressive masks from leaves, for performance or dance

vek:

10-12, 12-14, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Pinecone science: hygrometers

Pinecone science: hygrometers

Science

Measuring humidity using pinecones

vek:

10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Vegetable orchestra: Playing with Food

Vegetable orchestra: Playing with Food

Creative Arts

Make instruments from vegetables

vek:

8-10, 10-12

A Pappus Resource

Growing plants to use in cooking, sensory projects and crafts

Growing plants to use in cooking, sensory projects and crafts

Science

Getting started: sources of support for growing plants in school grounds

vek:

10-12, 12-14, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Pollination methods

Pollination methods

Science

Explore the pollination strategies of plants

vek:

10-12, 12-14, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Living things and their habitats: dissection

Living things and their habitats: dissection

Science

Dissect a broad bean to reveal the structure of a seed

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Living things and their habitats: leaf chromatography

Living things and their habitats: leaf chromatography

Science

What colours are in Autumn leaves? Experiment and create scientific art

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Close observation ivy

Close observation ivy

Science

Evolution and inheritance

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Famous plant hunters and botanists

Famous plant hunters and botanists

Science

Explore the impact of female plant hunters and botanists in 19th and early 20th Century

vek:

12-14, 10-12, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Shadows, Weights, 3D Shapes and Games

Shadows, Weights, 3D Shapes and Games

Maths

Plot the shadows

vek:

10-12, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Data handling

Data handling

Maths

Human scatter graph
and bar graph

vek:

8-10, 10-12

A Pappus Resource

Angles and Fibonacci and fractals

Angles and Fibonacci and fractals

Maths

Angle and Fibonacci and fractals in nature

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Leaf and flower symmetry

Leaf and flower symmetry

Maths

Reflective and rotational symmetry using natural materials

vek:

8-10, 10-12

A Pappus Resource

Pattern symmetry

Pattern symmetry

Maths

This is a physically active task, as well as a mathematical one

vek:

8-10, 10-12

A Pappus Resource

Horse chestnut poem, etymology and history

Horse chestnut poem, etymology and history

Literacy

Get to know a local horse chestnut tree in the grounds or locality

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Plant metaphors in Shakespeare

Plant metaphors in Shakespeare

Literacy

Pupils identify metaphors and improvise a scene

vek:

10-12, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Musical hedgerow game

Musical hedgerow game

Literacy

Non-fiction texts and food chains in hedgerow habitats

vek:

10-12, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Plants, poems and Haikus

Plants, poems and Haikus

Literacy

Use any leaves to inspire Haiku poems

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Etymology – the roots or origins of words

Etymology – the roots or origins of words

Literacy

Explore universal plant names, the how and the why!

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Language development and descriptive language - nettles

Language development and descriptive language - nettles

Literacy

Scaffolding, using nettles as a model, to suggest a wide range of ambitious adjectives to describe a plant

vek:

10-12, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Make paints from plants: history links – KS2

Make paints from plants: history links – KS2

History

Enhance a history project with a creative project to make bunting or flags

vek:

10-12

Pappus Resource

Fieldwork: Lichenometry – using plants to date old stone - KS3

Fieldwork: Lichenometry – using plants to date old stone - KS3

History

An historical study of rocks, trees stone structures or old school buildings, using plants

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Navigation by Plants KS3

Navigation by Plants KS3

Geography

Use the landscape to estimate compass points

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Islam

Islam

RE

Discuss the Islamic principle of ‘balance’

vek:

8-10, 10-12

Pappus Resource

Zen gardens

Zen gardens

PSHE

Research and design a Japanese Zen garden

vek:

10-12, 8-10, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Reap what you sow

Reap what you sow

PSHE

Global citizenship using The Lorax ‘Let it Grow’

vek:

10-12, 8-10, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Take a line for a ‘micro’ hike

Take a line for a ‘micro’ hike

PSHE

A mindfulness exercise and language generator

vek:

10-12, 8-10, 12-14

Pappus Resource

Design and Test Plant Watering Devices

Design and Test Plant Watering Devices

Design Technology

Make and evaluate watering devices to meet a design brief.

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Cooking – recipes using common plants

Cooking – recipes using common plants

Design Technology

Ideas for food technology activities

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Food and cooking

Food and cooking

Design Technology

Recipes galore using wild plants

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

Biophilic design

Biophilic design

Design Technology

Research biomimicry and biomorphism, developing a design idea for garden feature

vek:

12-14

Pappus Resource

CONIFERS in Shakespeare: conveying setting and atmosphere

CONIFERS in Shakespeare: conveying setting and atmosphere

Creative Arts

Exploring Shakespeare’s ‘English’ countryside, in particular the role of trees in creating atmosphere and depth

vek:

8-10, 10-12

Pappus Resource

Shakespeare’s natural world: dandelions

Shakespeare’s natural world: dandelions

Creative Arts

Golden Lads in Fear No More the Heat of the Sun

vek:

8-10, 10-12

Pappus Resource

Colours and Shades

Colours and Shades

Creative Arts

Exploring the colours, shades and tones of leaves

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Seed dispersal drama and role play

Seed dispersal drama and role play

Creative Arts

A very active task that supports work in science on seed dispersal

vek:

8-10, 10-12

A Pappus Resource

Indoors: washing up bowl allotment

Indoors: washing up bowl allotment

Science

vek:

10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Wild dancing and celebrations

Wild dancing and celebrations

Creative Arts

Physically active learning through outdoor dance, with props made from natural materials

vek:

8-10, 10-12

A Pappus Resource

Life processes and living things

Life processes and living things

Science

The human impact on evergreen and deciduous trees

vek:

10-12, 12-14, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Nettles as a soil indicator

Nettles as a soil indicator

Science

Why do nettles grow here but not there?

vek:

10-12, 12-14, 8-10

A Pappus Resource

Forces: working scientifically

Forces: working scientifically

Science

An experiment - the effect of wind on trees laden with ivy

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource

Living things and their habitats
-
working scientifically

Living things and their habitats
-
working scientifically

Science

Working scientifically to propagate plants from cuttings

vek:

8-10, 10-12

A Pappus Resource

Living things and their habitats

Living things and their habitats

Science

Understand the interrelationship of many species in food webs

vek:

8-10, 10-12, 12-14

A Pappus Resource