Shapes Of The Season
- Grade Level:
- Kindergarten-Third Grade
- Art, Biology: Plants, Botany, Mathematics, Visual Arts
- one hour long session, or two 30-minute sessions
- Group Size:
- Up to 24
- classification, sorting, observations, visual arts, patterns, art
OverviewThis lesson plan is from "Making Connections: A Curriculum Guide to Mammoth Cave National Park, GrK-3", which comprises ten lessons. This is lesson 4 of that set.
Students collect and classify leaves. This art project then re-creates their favorite leaf shape in the colors of fall - ready to hang in the window as a sun-catcher.
Objective(s)The students will be able to:
- Use basic math skills to observe, visualize, and measure leaf shapes
- Develop their creativity using their knowledge of patterns and shapes
BackgroundMammoth Cave National Park has a variety of plants on the surface. A few of the most common trees include, oaks, maples, and tulip poplars. These trees like any other deciduous tree lose their leaves in the fall. A common use for oak trees by Indians and pioneers was grinding the acorns to make flour. Today these trees are used for building sturdy furniture. Not all oaks are alike. The white oak has rounded leaves and the red oak has pointed leaves. Maples trees are used to make maple syrup and furniture. Tulip poplars were often used for log cabins and floors in homes. All of these trees provide homes and food for countless animals, birds, and insects. These trees are found commonly in Kentucky and have been used and enjoyed by many generations.
- The students will need to bring in 3 leaves each (if possible try to have at least two different kinds of leaves)
- Bar graph activity sheets*
- Leaf shape activity sheets*
- Wax paper
- Tissue paper – shades of yellow, red, orange, and brown (cut into small pieces)
- Small bowls (old margarine tubs, etc)
- White glue
The students get out the three leaves they were asked to bring to school. The teacher asks the students to look at their leaves.
The teacher holds up drawings (copies of the four activity sheets) of the oaks, maple, and tulip poplar leaves. The teacher asks the students to see if any of their leaves match the pictures of the oaks. If it does then they can put their leaf in the oaks pile. Then they do the same thing for the maple leaf and the tulip poplar.
The teacher asks if anyone has any leaves that did not match. The students puts the remaining leaves in the “other” leaves pile.
The teacher puts the students into small groups and has them count the number of leaves in each pile. The teacher writes the numbers on the blackboard.
The teacher along with the students counts out bars to make a vertical bar graph on the blackboard. (The teacher can use the bars found in the Bar Graph activity sheet.)
From the bar graph the students should be able to understand which tree is most common. You may find that there are not as many tulip poplars as there are oaks and maples. The teacher may want to talk about why it is important to have a national park nearby to protect these plants that are not found as easily near our homes.
The teacher explains that we are going to make leaves that match the shape of the four leaves we just talked about. The instructor may ask, “Did anyone notice anything about our leaves? What color are the oak leaves ?” The teacher may want to write oak and the colors the students have observed on the board. Then do the same for the maple and poplars.
The teacher then asks the students to pick one leaf that they would like to make. The instructor passes out a leaf shape sheet to each student (Note: there are 4 leaves they can choose from so they either receive an red oak, white oak, maple, or poplar leaf.)
Now each student needs a piece of wax paper, a piece of string (roughly 3.5 feet), white glue diluted with water, and tissue paper (that has been cut into small pieces) in the color or colors of their leaf.
The students should place the wax paper over their leaf shape sheet (It may help to tape the shape sheet down to the desk and then place the wax paper on top). Then the students are to dip the string in the glue mixture and get it coated with the mixture. They place the string on the wax paper outlining the leaf with their string. They bring the end around to touch the stem again. (Extra string can be placed off to the side and cut off when it dries.)
The students then take small pieces of the tissue paper that matches the color of their leaf and dips them one or two at a time into the glue mixture and then places them on the inside of their string. The entire inner surface area should be covered and it is very important that the edge pieces of tissue touch the string. The string acts as a frame to support the tissue on the inside.
When the students are finished they can place their piece of wax paper on a table, window sill or the floor to dry. It usually takes overnight to dry. When the leaves are dry they can carefully be pulled off the wax paper and hung on a window to allow the light to shine through them.
CLOSURE: Today we have taken a look at a few common leaf shapes. Who can name one of those leaves for me? Maybe the next time we go outside for recess we can look around the play ground to see if we can find any of these leaves.
AssessmentThe teacher is able to evaluate the students as they separate their leaves into categories and as they create the shape they chose to make.
As the summer ends, the leaves of deciduous trees turn a rainbow of red, yellow, orange and brown colors. By examining different leaves, students will begin to realize that a tree's name can be told from the shape of its leaf. As they look closer at the variety of colors in a single leaf they will notice that each type of tree has its preferred predominant colors. Students will be introduced to trees.
- One follow up activity may be to sort the leaves the students made into the three different kinds of leaf shapes and make a bar graph showing how many students chose to make a certain leaf. Or you may want to put the leaves in piles according to color and make a bar graph related to the colors found in fall leaves.
- Go on a fall walk and look at the different leaves outside to observe different colors during the fall season.
- The class could go out into the school yard and see if they can find any oak, maple or tulip poplar leaves.