Leaves and Flowers-Structure and Function

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Student will be able to identify the functions of plant leaves and flowers by writing in their science journals.

Big Idea

Plants provide an easily accessible way for students to strengthen their understanding of the concepts of structure and function. Not only will students have this important science concept reinforced, but also practice their writing skills as well.


5 minutes

I open the lesson with some music.   Dr. Jean’s Plants song is a new favorite of the class.   Even though we have done it multiple times, they still love singing and moving to it.  Multiple exposures to songs like this one allows students to learn new concepts.  It is also great to provide a different modality like music to support a variety of learners.  I also ask the students about the function of the structures we have covered as a review of the previous lesson. 


I also found this song on YouTube.  It is a bit more advanced than the above song and gets into the function of each structure.  My students also liked this song.

After the song, we gather at the Smartboard.

Direct Instruction

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SMART Board. If you have a SMART Board, the Leaves and Flowers Smartboard notebook file can easily be downloaded and opened. If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express. Click here to download. There is also a pdf of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson: Leaves and Flowers PDF of Smartboard Slides

I use the terms function and structure to meet an NGSS cross-cutting concept.  This is not the students first exposure to these terms.  They have heard them used often during the past year. 

I gather my students in front of the SMART Board.  I have cards with each student's name on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the Smartboard.

I open the first slide (SMART Board Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques.  I read these objectives aloud for my students.

Content Objective
I can identify the leaves and flower of a plant and tell what their function is.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend the function of leaves and flowers. 

I then advance to Slide Two. 

Slide Two:  We know that a plant is made up of different parts or structures.  Each structure has a job to do.  Today we are going to learn about the leaves and flowers.

Slide Three:  These are leaves.

Slide Four:  These are different types of leaves.  We spend some time discussing how pine needles are a type of leaf.  This is a very relevant discussion for my students since pine tree are plentiful in our geographic area. 

Slide Five:  Leaves have a very important job or function.  Leaves use energy from the sun to make food for the plant.  This process is called photosynthesis.

Slide Six:  Leaves are an important source of food for humans and many animals.

Slide Seven:  These are some of the leaves that humans eat.  Do you know what they are?

Slide Eight:  Here are some different types of flowers.

Slide Nine:   Flowers have a very important job or function.  The structures that are responsible for reproduction, or making new plants are found inside flowers.  Without flowers, there would be no new plants. 

Slide Ten: Bright petals on flowers attract small birds, bees and other insects to help with pollination.  Pollination must happen to get a new plant.

Slide Eleven: Watch this video to learn about how plants reproduce. The link to this video brings you to a very basic video on plant reproduction.  Keep it simple at this level.  

Slide Twelve:  As a result of reproduction, we get fruit. 

Slide Thirteen:  Inside the fruit are seeds.  This is what will grow into a new plant!!

Slide Fourteen:  It is now Turn and Talk time.  Turn and Talk offers my students the chance to use critical academic vocabulary while building English conversational skills.  Every student has an assigned Turn and Talk partner.  I have them hold their partner’s hand in the air, so I can see that everyone is partnered.  I then pose the following questions:  What is the function of the leaf?  What is the function of the flower?

After the students have had time to talk, I ask for students to share their thoughts. I make sure that the information that they are sharing is accurate.  We then move back to our seats for independent practice time.

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, you will need My Plant Journal included as a PDF with this lesson.  This journal was used in the previous lesson on stems and roots.  I distribute the book to the students.  I say to them, We are going to continue to add to our journal that shows all the things that we have learned about plants.  You will be completing the leaf and flower pages of the journal.  I want you to write down three facts about leaves and three facts about flowers.  Don’t worry about getting book spelling; use your sound spelling.  I am looking for what you have learned about the leaves and flowers. 

The students begin working.  I really encourage my students to just make an attempt at spelling words.  I do not want their need to have the correct  spelling holding them back from recording what they know.  See work sample.  By identifying facts about each structure, students are strengthening skills that will allow them to some day construct explanations as in NGSS Science and Engineering Practice 6.   After the students have recorded their ideas, they share them with me.  See video.  I have them keep their  journals for the lesson closing.


5 minutes

To bring the lesson to a close, I have the students partner up.  They then share what they wrote in the journal with their partner.    Again, this gives the students the opportunity to build and strengthen their academic language.  My ELL learners have really expanded their understanding of English syntax and expanded their academic vocabulary with this exchange.  After the students have shared, I collect the journals so they can be used in the next lesson.