Ethnobotany Station

BioTrek Curriculum for Ethnobotany Garden

biotrek logo

The RainBird Ethnobotany Learning Center

The Rain Bird Ethnobotany Learning Center at BioTrek is a native California plant garden with over 300 species.  This stop emphasizes the relationship between plants and people, featuring the Tongva-Gabrielino way of life. A guide to the Ethnobotany Learning Center may be viewed for the following grades:

The standards that may be covered include:






Life Sciences


Students know how to identify major structures of common plants and animals (e.g., stems, leaves, roots, arms, wings, legs).

Earth Sciences


Students know how to identify resources from Earth that are used in everyday life and understand that many resources can be conserved.

History-Social Sciences


Students recognize national and state symbols and icons such as the national and state flags, the bald eagle, and the Statue of Liberty.


Students understand that history relates to events, people, and places of other times. Understand how people lived in earlier times and how their lives would be different today (e.g., getting water from a well, growing food, making clothing, having fun, forming organizations, living by rules and laws).

Grade 1

Life Sciences


Students know different plants and animals inhabit different kinds of environments and have external features that help them thrive in different kinds of places.


Students know how to infer what animals eat from the shapes of their teeth (e.g., sharp teeth: eats meat; flat teeth: eats plants).


Students know roots are associated with the intake of water and soil nutrients and green leaves are associated with making food from sunlight.

History-Social Sciences


Students compare and contrast the absolute and relative locations of places and people and describe the physical and/or human characteristics of places. Locate on maps and globes their local community, California, the United States, the seven continents, and the four oceans.


Students compare and contrast everyday life in different times and places around the world and recognize that some aspects of people, places, and things change over time while others stay the same. Examine the structure of schools and communities in the past.


...Recognize similarities and differences of earlier generations in such areas as work (inside and outside the home), dress, manners, stories, games, and festivals, drawing from biographies, oral histories, and folklore.


Students describe the human characteristics of familiar places and the varied backgrounds of American citizens and residents in those places. Compare the beliefs, customs, ceremonies, traditions, and social practices of the varied cultures, drawing from folklore.

Grade 2

Life Sciences


Students know light, gravity, touch, or environmental stress can affect the germination, growth, and development of plants.


Students know flowers and fruits are associated with reproduction in plants.

Earth Sciences


Students know smaller rocks come from the breakage and weathering of larger rocks.


Students know that soil is made partly from weathered rock and partly from organic materials and that soils differ in their color, texture, capacity to retain water, and ability to support the growth of many kinds of plants.

Grade 3

Life Sciences


Students know plants and animals have structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.


Students know living things cause changes in the environment in which they live: some of these changes are detrimental to the organism or other organisms, and some are beneficial.


Students know when the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; others die or move to new locations.

History-Social Sciences


Students describe the American Indian nations in their local region long ago and in the recent past. Describe national identities, religious beliefs, customs, and various folklore traditions.


...Discuss the ways in which physical geography, including climate, influenced how the local Indian nations adapted to their natural environment (e.g., how they obtained food, clothing, tools).

Grade 6

Ecology/Life Sciences


Students know energy entering ecosystems as sunlight is transferred by producers into chemical energy through photosynthesis and then from organism to organism through food webs.


Students know matter is transferred over time from one organism to others in the food web and between organisms and the physical environment.


Students know the number and types of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and on abiotic factors, such as quantities of light and water, a range of temperatures, and soil composition.



Students know different natural energy and material resources, including air, soil, rocks, minerals, petroleum, fresh water, wildlife, and forests, and know how to classify them as renewable or nonrenewable.

Earth Sciences


Students know rivers and streams are dynamic systems that erode, transport sediment, change course, and flood their banks in natural and recurring patterns.

World History/Geography


Students describe what is known through archaeological studies of the early physical and cultural development of humankind from the Paleolithic era to the agricultural revolution. Describe the hunter-gatherer societies, including the development of tools and the use of fire.


...Discuss the climatic changes and human modifications of the physical environment that gave rise to the domestication of plants and animals and new sources of clothing and shelter.

Grade 7

Life Sciences


Students know the structures and processes by which flowering plants generate pollen, ovules, seeds, and fruit.

Biotrek is an education-based project that reaches out to K-12 and college students, and other community members, emphasizing the need to share knowledge, values and behaviors that support biological sustainability on a finite Earth.