MamaGMama Greenleaf

Background:
Leaves come in many shapes and sizes. Some have saw-toothed edges, while others have perfectly smooth edges. Some leaves grow directly across the branch from another leaf and are known as opposite-leafed plants. Alternate-leafed plants never have leaves opposite of one another. Instead, first there is a leaf on the left and then there is one on the right. Another clue to identifying leaves is the number of leaflets or leaf blades on the flat green part attached to the stem. Simple leaves have just one blade while compound leaves have three or more leaflets on the same stem. Evergreens have leaves that look like needles.Take the time to simply relax and enjoy the beauty of the area trees and their leaves. Notice how some will reflect the sun’s light, have several shades and colors, or simply bob, sway, or flutter in the wind.

 

Leaf Identification

Fall Indoor / Outdoor / Rain / Shine

Objective:

To have students learn the basic leaf types and begin to identify leaves by their shapes and patterns.

You’ll need:
Use the Treeture,
Mama Greenleaf, as a guide, icon or symbol to help animate and enhance your leaf identification lesson. Mama Greenleaf is the Keeper of the Crown who watches over the newborn leaves growing on the trees. She loves students to learn about the shapes and patterns of the leaves for which she cares. Have each student collect 3 or 4 leaves from the ground around local trees (remember to stress the importance of not pulling leaves off of trees but picking them up off the ground instead). Students should look carefully at the distinctive features of the leaves such as size, shape, color, and texture and sort them into piles. Using tree field guides and tree keys, students should try to identify the leaves. The leaf identification worksheet can be used to record findings. Try to describe your leaves using correct terminology such as simple or compound leaves, saw-toothed or smooth edges, etc.

Get Leaf Identification Sheet

*The Treeture characters, as learning tools, can be adapted to any grade level. For example, students in grades K-1 could utilize coloring pages, finger puppets, and collages. Stories, poems, creation of new Treeture characters, newsletters, and plays could be fun and used as mentoring projects by 5th and 6th graders for younger students. Another entertaining and educational activity is to hold a Treeture Fair. This project has been successfully implemented in several schools. Each Treeture character can be enlarged and placed on an easel on a table with an appropriate experiment or example of its tree role.

Extension:

  • Make leaf print trees. Gather fresh leaves and flowers. Paint a tree trunk on your paper or make life size trees by having someone trace your body on a large sheet of butcher paper to represent the tree trunk. Brush poster or tempera paint onto the back of a leaf, place it carefully onto the crown of the tree, and smooth it down lightly. Gently peel off the leaf and repeat the process until you’ve completed your picture. Add Mama Greenleaf to watch over the leaves on your new tree.
Totally True Treeture Trivia:
The world’s largest leaves are 65’ long with stems up to 13’. They grow on two kinds of palm trees: the raffia palm of the Masearene Islands in the Indian Ocean and the Amazonian bamboo palm of South America. (Nature’s Wild by James Marsh)

Suggested Readings:

  • Eyewitness Books: Tree by David Burnie
  • Outside and Inside Trees by Sandra Markle