Plant ID in a Parallel Universe

18 May 2013 · 6 comments

in Digital & ICT Outdoors, Science Outdoors, Technologies, Urban

Plant identification is a quirky matter. As a child, I was not especially interested in wildflowers, trees or other plants. Family walks were decidedly boring if there was too much plant talk and not enough running, climbing and swinging thrown into the mix.

So when looking at plants as part of a school project, a few guerrilla tactics can be deployed. Creating a “Top Trumps” type of database appeals to some children. Points can be awarded based on the variety and characteristics of each plant.

Thanks to Photo Booth on iPads, it is also possible to view plants in a different way. The special effects can be used to produce plants which do not look quite right. It is like waking up and finding yourself in a parallel universe. For this blog post, I just used the mirror feature.

So here’s a wee test for you. See if you can work out which plant is which from the photos above below. The first three above are probably easy to work out. The rest may be more tricky. Scroll down for the answers.







A – Flowering currant; B – Plantain; C – Nettle; D – Garlic mustard; E – Hawthorn; F – Honesty.

The possibilities are endless for using Photo Booth for plant identification. If you have enough iPads, then children can be asked to create their own parallel universe of plants, places and people. If you only have one or two iPads, then photographing common plants found in the school grounds this way can be done by a group of children. Then the rest of the class have to work out which plant and where it is situated outside.

What it does do, is encourage children to observe plants more closely. They will find the changes to the petals, leaves and overall shape of the plant quite fascinating. It can lead on to some interesting story writing too. Because I’m having fun exploring apps, I stuck a photo into Phoster and played around with it. This app is about posters and greeting cards. The downside is only one photo can be used on each poster but it is easy too use.

Any thoughts you have on this activity, please let me know. What would you do with plants from a parallel universe?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

kindergeek May 18, 2013 at 09:58

Love this idea. You could publish them in Haiku Deck. That would let you put as many as you want in a cool presentation.


Coombe Mill May 18, 2013 at 12:16

What a great way to inspire children to investigate plants and flowers. I actually like the ‘Alien’ flower photos. Thanks for sharing with Country Kids.


sabrina montagnoli May 18, 2013 at 12:55

I need to brush up on my plant identifications much less expectations for my son! They are all flowers and are all pretty, to either be smelt picked pulled apart ect.


Jaime Oliver May 18, 2013 at 15:22

what a really imaginative idea i love it! xx


Juliet Robertson May 18, 2013 at 15:42

Thanks for the Haiku Deck link – I will check this out. I’m trying to use different apps to follow up each activity so recommendations are always appreciated.

Sabrina – great point and you would have loved seeing two girls grab a newly planted sage bush right out of the ground – they ran around throwing it about for a good 20 minutes, completely absorbed.

Thanks Jaime and everyone for your lovely comments.


PinkOddy May 18, 2013 at 23:18

I like your idea of mixing getting outside with technology – as that would really appeal to my children


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