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A Science lesson on Leaves and Observation (uses some Math)

Subject:

Science  

Grades:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5  

Title: Observe a Leaf by Jennifer Brouillette

  1. Topic Area
    Biological Science: Plant Parts – Leaf
  2. Introductory Statement
    Students will observe and describe leaves
  3. Math Skills
    • Measurement
    • Counting
  4. Science Processes
    • Observation
    • Comparison
  5. Materials:
    Leaves – preferably those chosen by the children Magnifying lens
  6. Key Question
    What does a leaf look like?
  7. Background Information
    The variety to be found among the leaves of plants is enormous. There are large leaves, small leaves, slender leaves and wide ones. Leaves can be soft, prickly, hairy, and hard. But leaves all have one thing in common, they change sunlight into energy through photosynthesis. The leaves absorb carbon dioxide from the air and with water that comes through the roots of the plant, combines these elements and releases the oxygen into the air. By this exchange, plants maintain a level of oxygen in the air that benefits all living things.
  8. Management Suggestions
    • If possible, take the class on a nature hike and let the students pick up a special leaf of their own.
    • If a nature hike is not possible, have the students bring a leaf to study from home.
    • Don’t let the leaves dry out; they will be hard for the students to work with when they are brittle.
  9. Procedure
    • Tell the students to take their special leaf and look at it carefully. Draw it in the box on the worksheet.
    1. Use a magnifying lens to look at the veins of the leaf.
    2. Measure the length and width of the leaf.
    3. Describe the leaf by filling in the blanks on the next page.
    4. Take the leaf and trace around it on the graph paper.
    5. Color the leaf you traced on the paper to look like your special leaf.
  10. Discussion Questions
    • Why do plants have leaves?
    • Do all leaves look alike?
    • Are all leaves green?
    • What do leaves do for a plant?
    • Do leaves ever change colors?
    • What happens to deciduous leaves in the fall?
  11. Extensions
    •  Make a collection of as many different kinds of leaves as you can find.
    • Find some way to group as many different kinds of leaves as you can find.
    • Use the students’ leaves to make leaf prints or leaf rubbings.
    • Arrange leaves on contact paper or waxed paper and place in a construction paper frame. Display in the window.
    •  If this lesson cannot be done when the leaves are collected, keep them soft by putting them in solution of 1 part glycerine to two parts water. Layer the leaves in a shallow pan, cover with glycerine solution, soak for 24 hours. Remove and press between newspapers for 3 days. The colors will not be as bright as they were when they were collected, but the leaves will be soft and pliable.

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