Lesson Plan

Shapes Of The Season

Two girls and a boy compare leaves

Tom Foster

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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


This 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.


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  


Mammoth 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.

 In the fall you may notice that oaks tend to turn shades of reds and browns. Maples change to various shades of reds, yellows, and a few shades of orange. Tulip poplars tend to turn a bright yellow. 


  • 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) 
  • String 
  • Small bowls (old margarine tubs, etc)
  • White glue 
  • Water 
*Available in the downloadable Lesson Plan at the top of the page



The teacher is able to evaluate the students as they separate their leaves into categories and as they create the shape they chose to make.

Park Connections

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.


  1. 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. 
  2. Go on a fall walk and look at the different leaves outside to observe different colors during the fall season. 
  3. The class could go out into the school yard and see if they can find any oak, maple or tulip poplar leaves. 


Oak, Maple, Tulip Poplar, seasons, graph

Last updated: April 14, 2015