Nature's Store

Students explore the contents of {definitionbot=disable}untreated water, using a microscope to find organisms. They then create their own filtering system to clean the water. Finally, students research water-borne pathogens that may be increasing in number due to effects of global warming.

Materials Needed
Extension Activities
Relevant Curriculum Standards


Students research products made from plants and present a persuasive presentation to include their product in an imaginary drug store.

Estimated class time:
One class period to introduce topic, research and presentation preparation time (homework possibly), one class period for presentations.


Students will:

  • Identify medicinal uses of certain plants
  • Research the value of a particular plant
  • Relate habitat destruction to loss of valuable substances
  • Present a persuasive argument


  • Internet access
  • Poster or other visual aid materials


  1. Introduce students to the Plants: Medicine from Nature in the Unbalancing Act chapter and have students answer the following questions:
    • How many U.S. prescription medicines come from plants?
    • How long have people been using plants for medicinal purposes?
    • What is meant by the term bioactive?
    • How many species of plants are endangered?
    • What's causing plants to become endangered?

  2. Tell students that a new imaginary drug store is opening in their neighborhood and it will be their job to find new products for the store to sell. Assign or have them choose a particular plant from the list below (or from a different list):
    • Anemone Anenome canadensis
    • Balm of Gilead Populus gileadensius
    • Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum
    • Camphor Cinnamomum camphora
    • Cayenne pepper Capsicum frutescens
    • Coca Erythoxylon coca
    • Nightshade Atropa belladonna
    • Gentian Gentiana catesbaei
    • Ginger Asarum
    • Ginseng Panax
    • Ipecac Caphaelis ipecacuana
    • Jimson weed Datura
    • Joshua tree Yucca brevifolia
    • Marginal fern Dryopteris marginalis
    • Monkshood Aconitum napellus
    • Pinkroot Spigelia marilandica
    • Saffron Colchicum autumnale
    • Strychnine plant Strychnos nox-vomica
    • Tamarind Tamarindus indica
    • Velvet bean Mucuna

  3. Use the Internet or other sources to research each particular plant to find out:
    • Where the plant grows
    • Is it endangered?
    • What medicinal use does the plant have?
    • What part of the plant is used?
    • Who would benefit from products from this plant?
    • How would they get enough plant material to manufacture the product?

    Possible sources of information could include:

    Medicinal Plants of the Amazon

    Tropical Plant Database

    Medicinal Plants List

    An Illustrated Herbal

  4. Each student should then prepare a persuasive demonstration, which includes a poster or other visual aid, designed to convince the drug store's owner that his/her product should be included in the store's inventory.

  5. The class can vote, or the teacher can choose, the top (5 or 10) best candidates to be rewarded with bonus points or any other reward system.


Placemats can be assessed using the following criteria:

  • Response to questions about website
  • Research skills/behaviors
  • Presentation and visual aid.


  • Research uses of plants other than medicinal.
  • Find out what local plants are endangered and why.
  • Write letters to protest habitat destruction of endangered plants.

This lesson correlates to the following National Science Education Standards, located online at bob.nap.edu/html/nses/html/6e.html#csc912, and National Health Education Standards located online at www.aahperd.org/aahe/pdf_files/standards.pdf.

National Science Education Standards

Content Standard C:
As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of interdependence of organisms:

  • Human beings live within the world's ecosystems. Increasingly, humans modify ecosystems as a result of population growth, technology, and consumption. Human destruction of habitats through direct harvesting, pollution, atmospheric changes, and other factors is threatening current global stability, and if not addressed, ecosystems will be irreversibly affected.

Content Standard F:
As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of natural resources:

  • Humans use many natural systems as resources. Natural systems have the capacity to reuse waste, but that capacity is limited. Natural systems can change to an extent that exceeds the limits of organisms to adapt naturally or humans to adapt technologically.

Health Education Standard 1:

  • Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention by analyzing how the prevention and control of health problems are influenced by research and medical advances.

Health Education Standard 2:

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid health information and health-promoting products and services by comparing the safety, reliability, and cost of health products


Celbrate Biodiversity Placemat | Genetically Modified Foods:
What Do You Think?
| Nature's Store

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