Leaves – Background


Leaves are all around us. They are a welcome sign of spring, brightening the landscape with fresh green. They give us shade in summer and color fields and hillsides emerald. Every fall they dazzle us with their fiery display of color. Leaves come in a variety of shapes and sizes, yet a close-up look reveals patterns that help us identify them. Despite differences in form, all leaves perform the same vital function – capturing sunlight and turning it into food for the plant. Continue reading Leaves – Background

Leaves: Nature’s Suncatchers – Activities

FOCUS: Leaves come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they are all designed to make food for the plant, using sunlight, water, air, and their green pigment, chlorophyll. With close observation, leaf features such as shape and venation can provide important clues to the identity of plants.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about leaves.

WARNING: Before collecting leaves, be sure to check your school grounds for any poisonous plants, such as poison ivy,  wild parsnip, and chervil.

Have children work in small groups with a leader to look for different types of leaves. Provide paper lunch bags to collect samples. Ask them to collect leaves from different types of plants, such as grasses, weeds, trees, shrubs, even garden plants. Have each small group sort their leaves into two piles and see if the other groups can guess which feature was used to sort them.

Have the children save their leaves for future activities.

Materials: paper lunch bags, Fact Sheet on Poison Ivy, Wild Parsnip, and Chervil.

Objective: To identify physical features of leaves and associated vocabulary.

Have each child choose a leaf from their Leaf Grab Bags (see Introduction above). Using the Leaf Anatomy and A Variety of Leaves diagrams, have them note the various features on their leaf. Explain that you will now be asking them to split into two groups based on one particular leaf feature. Continue reading Leaves: Nature’s Suncatchers – Activities

Leaves: Nature’s Suncatchers – Puppet Show

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. Continue reading Leaves: Nature’s Suncatchers – Puppet Show

Leaves: Nature’s Suncatchers – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Leaves: Nature’s Suncatchers – Standards