Leaf It to Leaves!
Characters: Woody Woodchuck, Freda Fern, Pine Needles, Gertie Grass, Chlorophyll, Maple Leaf
Props: carbon dioxide, water drop, sun, clover leaf, words to song.
Woody Woodchuck (singing while holding clover) I’m looking over a four-leaf clover that I overlooked before. Mmm – I certainly do love leaves. They make such wonderful meals for a woodchuck. And they come in all shapes and sizes. (Freda Fern enters, clover exits) Why, hello there, Freda Fern. I was just thinking about you.
Freda Fern You were? Why’s that? I’m all ears – well, actually I’m all leaves.
Woodchuck That’s what I was thinking about – leaves. Yours are so pretty – delicate, lacey, and such a lovely shade of green.
Fern Yes, I think my leaves are just fern-tastic. They even have a special name.
Woodchuck You mean “fronds”?
Fern That’s right, and I’m very frond of them. In fact, I’d be nothing without them. Well, see you later, Woody. (fern exits)
Woodchuck Bye, Freda. (pine needles enter) Wow, who are you? You look dangerous with all those sharp points!
Pine Needles They’re called needles – pine needles, that is. And I think they make me look pretty sharp.
Woodchuck They sure do. I wonder why pine trees have needles but other kinds of trees have leaves.
Pine Needles Woody, needles are leaves – they’re the leaves on pines and other evergreen trees.
Woodchuck Really? But they’re so skinny and hard.
Pine Needles Needles have a hard waxy coating to keep them from drying out. That’s why they can stay on the tree all year long.
Woodchuck But it’s so cold in winter! Don’t they just turn blue?
Pine Needles No, silly! If they did we’d be called “everblues” instead of evergreens! (Pine exits, grass enters)
Woodchuck Oh, hi there, Gertie Grass. Gee, a grass leaf sure is long and narrow compared to other leaves.
Grass That’s why it’s called a “blade” of grass. It’s narrow and has sharp edges like a knife. But be-leaf me, it’s still a leaf.
Woodchuck Talking about leaves makes me hungry. Are you getting hungry, Gertie?
Grass Me? No, plants don’t get hungry.
Woodchuck Really? But everybody gets hungry! We all need to eat to get energy to live and grow.
Grass Well, plants just don’t get hungry.
Woodchuck Okay, if that’s true, then how do you get energy to make leaves, fruits, seeds, and all the other good things I like to eat? You can’t just make them out of thin air.
Grass Actually, that’s just what we do.
Woodchuck Come on, you’re joking – how can you make leaves out of air?
Grass Well, not just air. We need water from the soil, too.
Woodchuck Sounds like magic. So where does the energy come from to turn air and water into leaves, fruits, and seeds?
Grass Why, from the sun, of course. Our leaves are like solar panels. They catch sunlight and use the energy to make food.
Woodchuck Amazing! How do they do it?
Grass The secret is chlorophyll. It’s what makes our leaves green.
Woodchuck Well, I’m green with envy! But I don’t really understand how it works.
Grass Then you’d better talk to my plant manager. Why, here he comes now. (exits)
Chlorophyll Hi, Phil’s the name – Chloro-phyll, that is! I’m the green stuff in leaves. I help turn sunshine into food. It’s called photosynthesis.
Woodchuck Photo-synthesis? That’s a big word. How do you do it?
Chlorophyll It’s easy to understand if you learn this simple song (sung to the tune of “Frére Jacques”):
Plants begin with
Carbon dioxide (hold up CO2 prop)
From the air
From the air
Water from the soil (hold up water drop)
Add a dose of sunshine (hold up sun)
Makes our food
Enough to share!
Woodchuck Hey, that’s a catchy tune. But I’m kind of shy when it comes to singing.
Chlorophyll Then let’s get everyone to sing along. All together now. (repeat song) Hey, that was pretty good. Now, I’d better get back to work – catching sunshine and making food – not just for plants but for everyone. See you around! (exits)
Woodchuck Goodbye, Chlorophyll. Thanks for sharing your song – and your food with us. (maple leaf enters) Hello! Where did you come from?
Maple Leaf I just blew off that tree over there. I’m a maple leaf. Just call me Sugar.
Woodchuck Gee, you’re so colorful – all yellow and orange. Hey, wait a minute, you’re not green! Where’s your chlorophyll?
Maple Leaf I used to have chlorophyll when I was younger. But in the fall leaves like me stop making food, and the chlorophyll fades away. Now you can see all the other colors that were hidden by the green.
Woodchuck Well, you sure look jazzy!
Maple Leaf Gee, thanks! You’re making me blush!
Woodchuck Leaves come in all different shapes and styles – fronds, blades, needles…
Maple Leaf We may look different, but we all do the same job – making food for plants.
Woodchuck And for animals, too. Photosynthesis is really important work! Why, we couldn’t live without you.
Maple Leaf Yes, I know. It’s a big job, but we can handle it, Woody. Just leaf it to us!