Learning about leaves.

Leaves are everywhere! And they make fun lessons and crafts.

Leaves are everywhere! And they make fun lessons and crafts.

We’ve learned about photosynthesis, and now we are doing some leaf identification. Identifying leaves works on classification skills. It’s also pretty cool to be able to do when you are on nature walks. Whenever we go somewhere, we almost always go on a nature walk and my children love to pick up leaves. Their favorite questions is, “What tree is this from?” They don’t mean they want the name of the tree (not normally), but they want to point to the tree it comes from. So I ask them a series of questions, and they eventually find the tree.

Here are the four things we are focusing on about leaves: Shape, margin, simple or compound, and alternating or opposite.

There a great website that has images of compound/single and alternating/opposite leaves.

I printed out this chart and then laminated it.  Two copies of this chart sit in a crate in my car so that I always have it. Along with paper and crayons (leaf rubbing or rock rubbings are always a great way to end a nature hike). Plus, I just like having them in case we need to get out of the car and go walking.

To begin our lesson, we wrote the word “leaf” three times. Then we learned the word for leaf in German (das Blatt/ein Blatt). I handed them a picture of a leaf and they colored it. Then Nicholas had to write “das Blatt” on it. I wrote it for Abby.

We’ve already learned what leaves do. But it is Fall here, and leaves are starting to fall off trees. So we had to read about why. I let Nicholas type the question into Google. I’m trying to teach him to find out answers on his own, and since “Google it” is our version of, “Look it up,” I try and let him do it. We ended up at this website, which had a nice and short explanation.  Then he wanted more, so we went to the NPR site, which was more scientific and less geared towards kids, which bothers my child not at all.

I printed out this worksheet for them. They had to draw the veins on their leaves – which the kids know that the nutrients to the leaf – and then color them. I then let them cut out each leaf and make a collage.

Now we go on our nature walk! I took the kids down by the river, handed them a paper bag, and let them collect leaves – only leaves that had fallen off trees. When we got home, we sorted the leaves by size, then by color (these two were for Abby to practice her relative size and color skills), then by shape and compound/single. Lastly, I handed each kid a piece of heavyweight poster board (I get the multi-packs and then cut them into paper size). I set out the glue, and had them clue all their leaves onto the board as a collage. We brushed glue on the paper, on the leaf, and then over the leaf. Abby wanted to add glitter to hers, so I let her. We had out nature leaf collages.

Believe it or not – this activity took all day. It was our whole school day. Nicholas still had to do his spelling and online math, but we were done after this. It was awesome. They had fun. and learned a lot – all without realizing they were really learning.

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