Plant Parts: Leaves

1 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT identify and categorize leaves by their characteristics.

Big Idea

Today your students will look at the leaves of a plant. They will learn about the types of leaf structures and the names of the parts that make up the leaf.

Setting the Stage

1 minutes

Advanced Preparation:  scissors, collecting bags

The students start by watching a video about simple and compound leaves.  They then go on a hunt to find examples of each.  The class will then sort them into the two categories. The lesson will end with a in depth talk about the components of a leaf.  

Our district expects students to understand that a plant is a system that goes through a natural cycle and the parts help the plant survive and reproduce. By focusing on the parts and needs of a plant, I can teach them how the parts have a role that helps a plant get the things it needs to survive.  The unit will end with the class spending 4 days int eh school garden and applying their learned knowledge to the work being done in the garden.  


Students demonstrate their understanding of Reproduction by…

  • Drawing and labeling the stages of development in the life of a familiar plant.




10 minutes

The students gather on the carpet and face the Smart board.  I introduce the "leaf" and have them watch a video that introduces the simple and compound leaf.  

"We are going to study another plant part today.  It is the leaf.  There are two classifications of leaves.  There is a simple leaf and a compound leaf.  I want to start by having you watch this quick video about the two types."

Once the video is over, I want to reiterate the terms compound and simple leaves.  The reason being is that the students will use the explore section to go out and find examples of each type.



20 minutes

The students now head outside to find examples of each type of leaf.  They are asked to find two examples of compound leaves and two examples of a simple leaf.  They will use these in the discussion part of the lesson.

"Now I want you to go outside and find four different leaves.  You will work with your science partner to find two compound leaves and two simple leaves.  You can bring a pair of scissors and a bag for collecting your leaves."

"Once you are done collecting, we will meet back in the classroom for a science circle discussion."

I take the students to the playground. Our playground has many trees and a field where a variety of leaves can be found.  


10 minutes

I gather the students back on the carpet and have them bring their leaves and science notebooks.  I lead a discussion about the leaves they collected and we sort all of them as a class.

"I am going to make a t-table on this piece of chart paper.  One side will be labeled compound leaves and the other will be labeled simple leaves.  I would like you to place your leaves in the appropriate side of the table.  Please don't lay your leaves on another group's leaves.  This way everyone can see all of the leaves in each category."

I give the students a few minutes to do this and then call their attention the the completed table.

"I would like you and your partner to look at how the leaves have been sorted.  Do you think that each leaf is in the right category.  I want you to discuss your thoughts with your partner.  Be ready to share your thoughts but also be able to explain your reasoning."

By having the students explain their reasoning, I am able to to tell if they understand the difference between the two.  Even if the class sorts them all correctly, the students will have to explain why they are sorted in the appropriate categories.  

"I would like you to take out your science notebooks and set it up for today's entry.  Our focus today is what (leaves)?  I would like you to create the same t-table that we created here and then draw three of the leaves from each category.  You can use colored pencils to enhance your drawings."


10 minutes

Advanced Preparation:  You will need a copy of the science handout Leaves.  I have taken a picture of this resource because I don;t have permission to include it as a printable black-line master.  

"I want to explore the structure of a leaf a little more closely.  I would like you to take a look this handout.  Let's look at the top part together.  Both compound leaves and simple leaves have a line that runs up the middle of the leaf.  This is called the midrib.  The lines that come out from the midrib are called the veins and between each vein is a blade of the leaf.  Each leaf on a compund leaf is called a leaflet."

I want to go over these terms because they will be needed for understanding of tomorrow's lesson on photosynthesis.  

"I would like you to complete the bottom part of this sheet on your own."


5 minutes

To finish today's lesson, the students will each take one of the simple leaves and use a crayon to create a leaf rubbing in their science notebooks.  They will then have to label the parts of the leaf using the sheet from the previous section.  

"Once you are done, I would like you to take one simple leaf and use a crayon to create a leaf rubbing of the leaf in your notebook.  Once you are done, I would like you to label the midrib, vein, and blade of your leaf.  You can use your sheet from the previous section of the lesson."