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Flora and Fauna: Part 1

Have you ever considered taking a Latin nature walk?  I always enjoy helping students to make connections between Latin and the world around them, and this is a great way to make Latin come alive for your students.  The scientific nomenclature, or taxonomy, of both plants and animals is all in Latin.  Why?  Because that was the common language, the  lingua franca, of the world for centuries.  There is a “Latin in Science” lesson in both Latin Alive Book 1 and 2 that helps students explore the names of trees.  You can expand this lesson to include shrubs and flowers as well.  Here is how . . .

Step 1: Make a list of the native plants in your area.  Consider in particular what might be growing around your school campus or home.

Step 2: Find the latin names for each of the plants you have identified.

Step 3: Provide students with a list of the LATIN NOMENCLATURE.  Do not give them the English.  Assign students the task of “translating” the Latin.  The Latin will often identify the plant or describe it in some way.

Step 4: After the class has identified all the plants or the flora, take them on a nature walk. Ask things like:

Qualis arbor est? (What kind of tree is it?)

Qualis flos est? (What kind of flowr is it?)

You can expand your conversation to include descriptions of size, shape, and color.  This will require some carefully planned research on your end, but it will be Latin class that they never forget.  Lessons such as these make Latin come to life.  Not only are they living it in that moment, but they are discovering that Latin lives on in the sciences.

If you like this lesson plan watch for Flora and Fauna: Part 2 where I will give a lesson plan for a scavenger hunt using Latin animal names.

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