Herb Plant Sale Unit



Students will be able to identify different herbs, and will know how to utilize herbs in a variety of ways. Students will understand the ways our ancestors used plants for food, medicine, personal care, and household uses. Students will also be able to collect and save seeds for future plantings.


Where does food come from? What are herbs? Why are herbs important?


• A small selection of herbs or herbed foods to taste
• Labels from a variety of food products, personal care products, and non- prescription medicine
• For visit with community partners: good walking shoes and clothes for the weather, herb journals, pencils, sterilized baby food jars for seed collecting and saving
• For planting: potting soil, growing lights, plastic flats, watering cans, clean spray bottles, popsicle sticks for labeling, seeds, heating pads, compost
• For booklets: card stock for cover and back, rings, string or ribbon to attach to pot
• Books (see book list at end)


Invite students to taste the herbs/snacks. Students share what flavors they recognize, what they like, why they like certain flavors. Introduce the topic of herbs – there are so many herbs, and so many varieties, and they each have their own uses. Some in food, some in medicine, some are used in our soaps and shampoos! We are going to learn about herbs, how to use them, and finally how to grow them ourselves.

Hand out labels to groups or pairs of students and ask them to read through them together.
Ask students, “Do we recognize the ingredients in the food and products we buy?” Invite students to share the ingredients that they recognize. Next invite students to share ingredients they don’t recognize. Make lists on the board.

Bring students together in a circle. Explain that as we learn about herbs and their uses, it is important to find out what we already know. Create a KWL sheet (I Know-I Wonder-I Learned) about herbs, medicines, and personal care products.

Starting with the ingredients students could recognize, fill out the “K” section of the sheet. Where do these ingredients come from? Why would they be used in these products?
Using the list of unfamiliar ingredients, being the “W” section of the sheet. What are these ingredients? Where do they come from? Why would they be used in these products?
Explain to students that the final part of their KWL sheet (“I Learned”) will be completed at the end of the this unit, after they’ve found some answers to their questions–and maybe by then they’ll have discovered they have even more questions!

Hand each student their own herb journal (or this could be a section of their science journals). Invite the students to choose one of the “I Wonder” questions from the KWL sheet, and write it in their notebook. This will be a question they will try to answer over the course of the next few weeks.

Farm Visits and Tastings:

Visit with our community partners (listed above) who will take us on an herb walk. As students walk they will pick and taste a tiny sample from each plant. In their journals they will draw a sketch of the herbs that are most tasty to them and label it with the herb name. Each student should choose at least 3 herbs.
a. Students will ask our community partner about growing needs and conditions of their herbs as well as uses for their herbs and record this information in their journals.
b. Students will ask each community partner if they have herb seeds they would be willing to donate so the student can begin growing those herbs.

Visit the grocery store. Notice where the fresh food is located in the store. Record in journals which herbs are sold there, how much they cost and for what quantity. Ask the store manager where each herb is purchased from.


Back in the classroom students will select one herb that they would like to study and grow. Students who have chosen the same herb can partner up for this project. Groups of three would work too.
Students will research their herb. They will generate questions to guide their research. If the following questions have not been included in their generated list, ask them to include:

a. The origin of the herb (where did it originally grow? When was it introduced to our culture? Is it indigenous to our region?)
b. What are the culinary uses for this herb?
c. What are the medicinal uses for this herb?
d. What are the personal care product uses for this herb?
e. What type of growing conditions does this herb like?
f. What other cultures use this herb?

Each student will create a small (4”x3”) booklet about their herb based on the information gathered from their research.
Students will be guided through the steps to planting and growing herbs from seed and then plant the seeds they have collected from community partners (or elsewhere). Students will care for their herb plants as they grow and mature.

Plant Sale:

Students begin to create an herb business, deciding when and how to sell the plants (in school, at the farmer’s market, in the community somewhere, etc). They make posters to advertise their business/sale (date, time, location, price, a small blurb about the project). Students discuss and determine a fair price for each herb plant, and calculate how much money they anticipate earning. They will also discuss and decide as a class what they want to do with the money earned from plant sales. Some possibilities for using the money include, but are not limited to:
g. Buying materials for next year’s planting
h. Donating it to a community farm partner
i. Saving it for a field trip

Cooking with Herbs:
Students plan a meal to be made with their selected herbs.

If the meals can be easily made in the classroom students will do this in small
groups at school.

If the meals require stoves and/or more elaborate cooking materials the students
will ask their families to assist them in the meal preparation.
Decide on a date and time for a class/family dinner. If there is interest and enough resources, a larger gathering (school wide?) may be arranged to share the culinary delights of using local herbs in cooking. If this latter idea is chosen, herb plants with the attached booklets can be sold at the dinner.

Wrap up/ Assessment:

  1. Journal entries
  2. Discussion participation
  3. Digital photos and video of students in action
  4. Herb booklet


Herbs to consider: Sorrel, Chives, Cilantro, Parsley, Dill, Scallions, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Chamomile, Sage, Mint, Lavender, Oregano, Lemon, Basil, Lemon, Thyme, Lemon balm

Uses to consider: Potpourri, Cooking, Soap, Incense Moisturizing cream Insect repellent Aromatic, Teas, Tinctures Medicinal remedies

Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses by Deni Bown
The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, & Flavorings by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz
Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments by Andrew Chevallier and Gillian Emerson—Roberts
Song of the Seven Herbs by Walking Night Bear
A Kids’ Herb Book by Lesley Tierra
Medicinal Plants Coloring Book by Ilil Arbel
Shanleya’s Quest: A Botany Adenture for Kids Ages 9–99 by Thomas J. Elpel Walking the World in Wonder: A Children’s Herbal by Ellen Evert Hopman Herbs Coloring Book by Stefan Bernath
ABC’s of Bumps & Bruises, a guide to home & herbal remedies for children by Theresa Roberts The Herb Growing Book by Rosemary Verey, Barbara Firth, and Elizabeth Wood
The Yummy Alphabet Book: Herbs, Spices, and Other Natural Flavors (Jerry Pallotta’s Alphabet Book)
by Jerry Pallotta and Leslie Evans
Flavor Foods: Spices & Herbs (Plants We Eat) by Meredith Sayles Hughes
Herb Seasoning by Julian F. Thompson
Growing Your Own Herbs (Time–Life Complete Gardener) by Time—Life Books