Students will understand the difference between a tree, a shrub, and a herbaceous plant.

Click on the following links to take you to the materials needed for this lesson. Please print out and copy any maps or worksheets needed for the lesson. Audio-visual program links will provide you with information on how to acquire the needed film or video. Remember, you may need to use your browser's "BACK" button to return to this page.
Audio-visual program
"The New Jersey Pinelands, Our Country's First National Reserve"

Art paper and art supplies (colored pencils, crayons, etc.)

Samples of shrubs and herbaceous plants (can be Pinelands plant material, but this is not essential to the lesson)

Tell the students they are going to view a program about the New Jersey Pinelands. Ask them to look for examples of Pinelands plants in the program. Direct them to jot down the name of the plants they see.

View the audio-visual program. When the class has finished viewing the program ask the students which plants they saw, and list the student responses on the board (responses may be as broad as trees, flowers, etc. or as detailed as specific plant names). Ask students if all the plants they have listed are the same. Ask the students to try to figure out ways to group the plants into categories (they might come up with ideas like color or size as a grouping factor).

Tell students that plants may be grouped into three general categories: trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.

Ask students to determine which plants on the board are trees.

Define shrubs and herbaceous plants for the students. Pass out samples of shrubs and herbaceous plants to groups of students.

Ask the following questions:

What differences do you notice about the plant samples? (they should observe the woody stems of some of the plants might define them as herbaceous in nature)

Ask students to look at the list on the board and decide which plants are herbs and which are shrubs.

Define deciduous for the students and then ask them to give examples of deciduous plants from the names listed on the board.

Pass out art paper and art supplies. Have the students draw, label, and color a tree, a shrub, and a herbaceous plant. The teacher might want to provide examples from encyclopedias, the Internet, or by bringing in living examples.


Check the accuracy of the students' drawings to make sure that students understand the difference between a tree, shrub, and herb.


1. Have students create leaf rubbings to illustrate different types of leaf structures.

This lesson will introduce the students to the following vocabulary words:(click on the word to see its definition-use your browser's back button to return to this page)

canopy, herbaceous, shrub, tree

This lesson covers the following New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards. Clicking on the standard number will take you to the complete text of the standard. You must use your browser's "BACK" button to return to this page from the linked Core Curriculum Standard pages.

Science standards:

5.1-All students will learn to identify systems of interacting components and understand how their interactions combine to produce the overall behavior of the system.

5.2-All students will develop problem solving, decision making, and inquiry skills, reflected by formulating usable questions and hypotheses, planning experiments, conducting systematic observations, interpreting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and communicating results.

5.6-All students will gain an understanding of the structure, characteristics, and basic needs of organisms.

5.7-All students will investigate the diversity of life.

Evaluate our site! Click on the Grade Page icon to go to our evaluation page. Won't you please take a minute to tell us how we can better help you bring the Pinelands into your classroom

Click the folder to return to the Pinelands Fire Unit lesson overview page
Return to the Pinelands Plant Unit
Evaluate Our Site