Leaf Study

Early November seems to be the best time to stop and enjoy the colors of the leaves although this year we had a very brown fall! The drought and then freezing temperatures didn’t do much for the fall foliage but we still planned some fun activities to learn more about tree and leaf identification!

The main idea I wanted the students to learn is that we have two main kinds of leaves:

  1. Simple leaf (Maple/Oak)
  2. Compound leaf (Box Elder/Hickory)

and that the arrangement on the stem can be either:

  1. Opposite (Maple/Box Elder)
  2. Alternate (Oak/Hickory)

Also, the older students wrote down the word “petiole.” In the videos below, when the host says “bud” you could substitute the proper word petiole for the stalk that the leaf is on which attaches to the stem of the branch.

Our lesson plan for this month is as follows:

*Gathering Song
*Snack/free play
*Nature Journal drawing – we divided our paper into four squares and drew a stem with leaves showing simple opposite (maple) simple alternate (oak) compound opposite (box elder) and compound alternate (hickory). Details were not important on the leaf shape (I showed kids that my shapes were very basic!) But that I wanted them to notice the arrangement of the leaves on the branch.
*Tree tag – We had a blast playing freeze tag with a tree component (if you are tagged your arms go up high and someone can unfreeze you!) But with a smaller and older group I would have loved an attempt from an activity in the Coyote’s Guide to connecting with nature. If you’re reading this post and have a smaller group, the idea is that you want to be in a heavily forested area with a blindfolded volunteer. The group will take the volunteer to a selected tree and allow the volunteer time to feel and explore the tree using only touch and scent. Then, remove the volunteer from the immediate area and take off the blindfold. See if the volunteer can find the tree they explored! Another great activity I did with my kids a few years ago was to “adopt” a tree in a park! Nothing special happens except that your child will develop a love and affinity for his/her tree! My kids still talk about which one is “their” tree when we go to that specific park!
*Leaf art – have students collect fallen leaves and other nature items to create nature art! Here are some of the wonderful creations we had in our event!
*Thanksgiving Song
*Free play

For more fun information about trees and leaf arrangement click here

For a WONDERFUL tree guide to Tennessee click here

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