Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Bay District Schools
Lab Activity: Students study the uniquely diverse structural design of leaves and demonstrate knowledge of interdependence between structure and environment through research, laboratory activity and written summary.
The student knows of the great diversity and interdependence of living things.
The student knows that the world ecosystems are shaped by physical factors that limit their productivity.
-A variety of leaves or pictures of leaves
-Reference Material (see examples below)
Hoover, Evalyn and Larimer, Howard, THE BUDDING BOTANIST: INVESTIGATIONS WITH PLANTS.
Aims Education Foundation, Fresno, California, 1993.
Rushforth, Keith. INTERNATIONAL PAPER POCKET GUIDE TO TREES. Mandarin Offset, Malaysia, 1992.
Zim, Herbert S. and Alexander, Martin. TREES: A GUIDE TO FAMILIAR AMERICAN TREES.
Golden Press, New York, 1987.
ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA (hardcopy and/or on-line)
It is recommended that the teacher be familiar with the broad classifications of world forests, their climates, aerial factors, soil type and topography. A list of possible resources is included in this document.
1. The teacher may purchase professionally prepared leaves or collect local leaves or prepare a selection of leaf pictures. (Xerox copies of natural leaves work well.)
2. Keeping in mind the number of students participating in the activity, the teacher should provide identical sets of leaves for each lab station or group of
three to four students.
3. To facilitate identification and continuity of recording information on the charts (located in the attached file) identical specimens should be numbered or marked so that they correspond with a number on the chart.
4. It is further recommended that the teacher be familiar with leaf shape, and edge patterns. This can be accomplished by accessing a variety of resource materials. A list of resources is listed in materials.
PART 1 - FORESTS OF THE WORLD
A. It is recommended that the teacher be familiar with the broad classifications of world forests, their climates, aerial factors, soil type and topography. See materials.
B. STUDENT ACTIVITY - Cooperative Learning Model
1. Students working in small groups research the following forest classifications:
a. conifer or softwoods
b. temperate hardwoods
c. tropical hardwoods
d. mixed conifer and hardwoods
2. Students will prepare a chart that describes the climate, aerial factors, soil type(s)and topography of the trees growing in these areas.
3. Students will prepare a list of trees (minimum of 4 per classification) that exemplifies the four forest classifications.
PART II - LABORATORY INVESTIGATION
A. TEACHER MODEL:
1. Lead students in a discussion/brainstorm to attempt to answer the following
a) Why do trees grow where they grow? ( Using information attained from the previous activity, make a chart describing characteristics typical of trees found in the various forest communities.)
b) What environmental factors might influence the shape, and edge patterns of trees?
2. Allow students to brainstorm the shape, vein and edge pattern of a sample leaf.
b. EDGE PATTERN
2) Saw-like (Toothed)
a) deep and round
b) deep and pointed
c) shallow and round
d) shallow and pointed
3. At the conclusion of the brainstorm session students should be prepared to perform a laboratory investigation of leaf specimens they receive.
B. LABORATORY INVESTIGATION
1. Students will make two charts. (See attached file.)
a. Chart I - Using the previously agreed upon descriptions, students will describe their impression of leaf shape, and edge patterns found in specimens provided by the teacher.
b. Chart II
1) Using resource materials students will compare their impression of leaf shape, and edge pattern and match their pattern to the actual scientific pattern and record this
2) Using resource materials students will identify the tree.
2. This pattern will be repeated for all specimens.
3. Wrap Up - This may be accomplished through written or oral discussion.
-Which shape, and edge pattern was the most common in the leaves you examined?
- Why is diversity of shape, and edge pattern important?
- What general conclusions could you draw if you had to opportunity to observed leaves similar but not the quite the same as those previously studied?
1. WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT:
Students will write an essay to describe a forest community of their choice. The essay should encompass the following information: a description of the climate, soil and aerial factors contributing to the uniqueness of the leaves and trees to be found within that community. Essays should be formatively assessed to make sure of student understanding of the required information.
2. LABORATORY TEST:
Students are given leaf specimens or pictures to a) demonstrate recognition of diverse and unique design patterns of leaves by shape, and edge pattern and b) identify the tree.
This may be accomplished through placing examples of leaves on lab table and allowing students to rotate from table to table identifying 1) leaf shape, and edge pattern and 2) leaf/tree name (paper and pencil activity). Students should have at least 70% accuracy in identification of leaves and their characteristics.
The teacher takes students on a walking/talking field trip. This may take place in any area that has trees. Through visual observation and conversation with individual students, the teacher questions students to determine the student's ability to identify trees by their uniquely designed patterns of leaves.
Leaf Charts 1 and 2
File Extension: pdf