Lesson Plan

Latin Roots

Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Twelfth Grade
Art, Biology: Plants, Botany, Language Arts
30 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Colorado Science:
4th grade 2.1, 5th grade 2.1
Colorado World Languages:
Novice-Low 3.1
latin, scientific name, taxonomy


Students will learn how scientists name new species of plants while creating a new one of their own.


Students will learn how scientists name new species of plants while creating a new one of their own.


Explore Great Sand Dunes' web page on plants to find the plant list which includes both common and scientific names.


Fictitious Scientific Name Generator, paper, drawing and coloring materials


In this activity students will learn the meanings of some Latin and Greek roots used in scientific naming. Students will draw pictures of fictitious plants based on the meanings of their names.

First, randomly generate a plant list of fictitious scientific names and print it out. Give one scientific name out to each student (or student groups). Although the genus and species names are fictitious, the roots, prefixes, and suffixes are real Latin or Greek terms.

Explain that each group will be illustrating a plant and that their group drawing must include:

  • Characteristics representing each of the four segments of the scientific name must be included in the drawing (two segments for the genus and two for the species).
  • The plant must be drawn as part of a habitat from Great Sand Dunes (discuss the various habitat types of Great Sand Dunes).
  • A common name must be created for the plant.

Your students will want to look up the meanings of their species' Latin and Greek roots. Make copies of the plant list key and distribute one per group.

After the students have illustrated their plant and its native habitat, they should present their illustrations to the class and explain what makes this plant special and how it survives in its habitat.


genus, habitat, species