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Tree and Leaf Terminology

Keywords: Leaf/Tree Identification, Terminology; Lesson Plan Grade Level: 3rd grade; Total Time Required: Assuming students had already completed Step 1 of the directions, Step 2 may take 30 minutes and then time to assemble books. (could be done at home or over a few days in the classroom); Setting: Classroom

Goals for the lesson:

  • able to understand terminology

  • identify leaf characteristics

  • create booklets to demonstrate knowledge of this concept

Materials Needed:

  • Tree identification books

  • Dichotomy Key

  • Construction paper

  • Contact Paper

  • Hole punch

  • Rings

  • Yarn

  • Binding combs

  • Markers, etc. 

  • Materials may vary depending. 

State Standards Addressed: Environment & Ecology 4.2.4 A/ B/C/ D, 4.3.4 A/B, 4.8.4A/ B/ D

Subject Covered: Science/Environmental Education

Topics Covered: Leaf/Tree Identification, Terminology

Teaching Model Used: Hands-on

Methods:

Pre-Assessment: Students have previously been introduced to unit on Trees (Leaf ID lesson plan), the importance and uses of trees and tree/leaf identification (parts/types of leaf). Students may have completed step one of this lesson during lesson one.  

Set Induction: Review leaf terminology from the previous lesson.  

Procedure: 

  1. Students will utilize tree identification books to select 4 or 5 trees they believe are present on their home property and record their selections.  Students will then collect leaf samples from those trees to identify in the classroom.

  2. Working with small groups, use the Dichotomy Key to identify the leaves the students brought in.  Students were already introduced to the Key in lesson one.

  3. Once all the leaves have been identified, compare the actual answers to their original guesses.

  4. Tape one leaf to a sheet of construction paper and label the type of tree it is from.  Continue to do this until all the leaves have been mounted and identified.  I suggest laminating them or covering each sheet with contact paper to better preserve the leaf.

  5. Students will then draw leaves that represent the various parts and types of arrangements. 

    • needles

    • blade

    • midrib

    • petiole

    • bud

    • margins

      • lobed

      • entire

    • simple leaf

    • compound leaf

      • pinnately

      • palmately

    • alternate

    • opposite

    • whorled

  6. Assemble booklets.  This could be done in a variety of ways such as with a hole punch and yarn or rings or with a plastic comb binding. I personally prefer to allow the students to work on this at home and encourage creativity in how it’s bound and assembled.

Extension: 

Students will select a tree to learn more about and research it.  Finding out between 4-7 facts about that particular tree. Ideas; how tall, native to, uses, provides food for, how long the tree lives, etc. If you opt for this additional exercise, be sure to wait until it’s complete before having students share leaf booklets with the class. 

Closure:

Students will share their books with the rest of the class.

Additional Follow-up: 

There are a few directions you can from this point such as talking about the history of state’s forests, management of forests - clear cutting, selective cutting, heath of a forest, impact on the environment, ecosystems, and so on. 

Evaluation:

Students will be evaluated on the completion of the leaf booklet.

Sources Cited:

Summer Key for Pennsylvania Trees, Pennsylvania State University, College of Agricultural Sciences, Cooperative Extension

Author

Kelly Garthwaite, State College Friends School