Bot 105 Lab Assignments Spring 2010

Tuesdays or Wednesdays 11:30 am-1:15 pm

Lab Instructor: Laura Shiels


Please read instructions and readings below and complete the appropriate assignments BEFORE coming to lab each week.  Descriptions of each topic and assignment are available as .pdf files by clicking on each topic title. There may be some modifications made to this schedule during the semester.  It is your responsibility to come to class to find out about any changes and to check this page regularly.


Week Topic  In-Class Assignment/Activities  Turn In    Homework Assignment
Jan 11-15

1) Introductions

2) Discuss course structure and expectations

3) Tour garden

4) Discuss multicultural perspectives and ethnobotanical ethics

 Fill out information card in class

1) You may want to download the BOT 105 Lab Packet.   The readings posted on this page are all contained in this convenient single file. 

2) Read article about traditional ecological knowledge and write reflection/thoughts about it (1 paragraph) OR 3 questions it made you critically think about.

3) Bring decorations that represent ethnobotany to decorate the classroom

Jan 18-22


The Plants all around Us



 1) Discuss ethnobotany, traditional ecological knowledge, multicultural viewpoints, and ethics

2) Decorate classroom

2) Prepare garden, seeds/cuttings, recycle bins, and compost piles

1) Paragraph or questions about traditional ecological knowledge


2) Ethnobotanical decorations


3) Bring to keep in the classroom: Eating utensils, food,  and gardening clothes (plus shoes, hat, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, water bottle, etc. that you may want)

1) On your own or with a partner from class, visit 3 different types of gardens.

2) Interview at least 1 gardener about their garden 

3) Type 1 paragraph about each garden following instructions on Garden Diversity link.

4) Read articles about gardening and composting under Gardening link and write  1 paragraph about the plant you will plant in the garden next week (What is it?  What conditions does it need?  What can you use it for?)

Jan 25-29

Garden Diversity

Organic Gardening, Composting, & Pest Management


 Today we will plant our class garden.   Please bring or come to class in clothes you can get dirty!!  Also bring a notebook and seeds or a plant cutting to plant.  You may also want to bring: hat, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, water bottle.   

1) Paragraph about gardens

2) Bring seeds and/or plant cuttings to plant in the garden and paragraph about what you will plant (what its ecological needs are and why you want to plant it).



  Find or purchase a funky fruit and learn something interesting about it to tell the class.  Try to figure out its common and scientific names and what people use it for.
Feb 1-5

1. Check on our garden

2. Show-and-tell, disect and taste our funky fruits

3. Where do fruits come from?  How do they differ from vegetables?  Discuss... 


Bring a funky/interesting edible fruit to class.  Try to stump me on what it is...

1) Read about limu 

2) Gather/purchase and prepare something edible or otherwise creative with limu (algae/seaweed)

Feb 8-12


Show-and-tell about and taste/observe examples we all brought in of edible/otherwise useful limu (algae/seaweed)



 Bring in an edible algae/limu product

1. Do some research on paper making and be prepared to discuss what you learned in class

2. Find plant and other materials you can use to make natural paper and bring them to class next week!

3. Write you final project proposal sentence or paragraph!!  Address: what your topic will be, what type of project it will be (interview based?  hands on?  website?  library research?  etc.),  any ethical issues potentially involved?  Will you need to write informed consent forms for interviews? 




Feb 15-19

Today we will make paper from plant materials.

 1) Bring: newspaper, appropriate plant material to use in paper


2) Proposal sentence about your final project topic (10 pts)

1. Read about beverages

2. Research and prepare a beverage you can legally bring into class (type up the recipe too)



Feb 22-26



Today we will prepare "Drink of the Gods" with cacao and herbs, and try other beverages brought in by classmates  

Bring in a beverage you made with plants along with the typed recipe


Do some research on Polynesian Ethnobotany and write out a few questions to ask our special guest speaker about his fieldwork next week.


March 1-5
Ethnobotanical Fieldwork
Ethnobotanist and author Dr. Art Whistler will give us a special presentation about his work and answer student questions about practical issues involved with ethnobotanical fieldwork and career choices

If you have a special cultural artifact you'd like to show the class, please bring it in.  Otherwise, bring a picture of one.


 1. Go into your medicine cabinet at home or local drugstore and find a remedy there that is derived from a plant.  Look up how the plant has been used historically, and how, when, and where the isolation of the useful compound took
place.  Write a paragraph about it.
2. Bring in a medicinal herb we can tincture/infuse along with a paragraph you wrote about its uses and any contraindications.  
Also, gather glass jars with well fitting lids and 80-proof alcohol (or vegetable glycerine)  if you would like to bring home plant medicine next week. 

March 8-12
 Today we will make herbal medicine, including alcohol-based tinctures.

 1) Bring to class 1-2 cups of vodka or vegetable glycerine and 1-2 or more glass jars and medicinal herb to tincture if you would like to take home medicine

2) Turn in paragraph about medicinal plant


1) Read Chemical Ecology Article and write 3 questions it made you ponder 

2) Final project outline due next week!!

March 15-19

Essential Oils, Aromatherapy & Chemical Ecology


Today we will discuss the ecological role of secondary chemical compounds created by plants.  We will then work in the garden and observe examples of chemical ecology.  For homework you will read the chemical ecology article, write 3 questions it made you ponder, and write a paragraph about the examples of chemical ecology you observed in the garden.  Please also research and include suggestions for pest management in our garden in your paragraph.



Turn in a detailed outline proposing your final project with CITATIONS (40 pts)

Read article about chemical ecology and write 3 critical thinking questions it made you ponder. Also type a paragraph about the examples of chemical ecology you observed in the garden.  Please also research and include suggestions for pest management in our garden in your paragraph. 


March 22-26



Spring Break--no class!!





March 29-April 2




  Meet at our classroom.  We will then go to the Ethnomusicology Collection of the UH Music Department (MB 115, click the Ethnomusicology link to see the map) to get a tour.  Our tour will begin at 12 pm.  Please be on time!!   You might want to bring a bike or skateboard to class if you have one, but you will have enough time to walk over.


Bring in an instrument (or representation of it) made from a plant  (ex: picture, item, sound clip). Do not bring in valuable items.


Be working on your final project...

Research and collect a dye plant and something to dye (i.e. t-shirt, piece of cloth, wall hanging, your skin, paper, etc.)

April 5-9

Plant Dyes


Today we will prepare plant dyes and use them creatively


 Bring: a dye plant, something to dye

 Do some research on kombucha and health benefits of chocolate and think about questions to ask or information to contribute next week.  Please focus on controversies involved with these two "health foods" and be prepared to discuss them!  Also please bring an ingredient to make the chocolate extra healthy.  You may also want to bring juice to drink with the kombucha. 
April 12-16

Chocolate making


Turn in 3 pg minimum double-spaced written report about your project + Bibliography  Practice your final presentation in front of friends or family
April 19-23
-Present and turn in your final lab project
- You lose participation points if you do not attend all presentations!!

Turn in 1 question and a brief critique about each talk you hear

Prepare a food dish made with spices you can tell us something interesting about.  Type up a story about the dish or the spice(s) which you can display next to the dish at our potluck.
Project Presentations, Spices Potluck, and Garden Harvest -Project presentations 
-Garden harvest and potluck, discussion of what we learned this semester
1) Turn in 1 question and a brief critique about each talk you hear

2) Bring a dish to share that you made with spices.  Place a paper next to it telling us the ingredients and something interesting about the dish or spices in it.