Wendell's World of the Weird and Wacky - Leaves

Type Category
Instructional Materials
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be "fully aligned," the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



This video, presented in the form of a game show, introduces students to the unusual leaves of some plants and how they help the plant survive. It is a nice introduction to a study of plant structures and functions or as a discucssion starter for further research about how plants meet their needs in a variety of environments. It can also be used as an extension activity, after a plant unit of study, to see if students can apply their knowledge to unusual plants and environments and in a different context.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Access Restrictions

Limited free access - Some material is available for viewing and/or downloading but most material tends to be accessible through other means.

Performance Expectations

2-LS4-1 Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the diversity of living things in each of a variety of different habitats.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include specific animal and plant names in specific habitats.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The material provides only a few plant and leaf examples from different environments. Teachers should provide additional examples through video, text, pictures, or live plants for students to observe and compare their diverse features and discuss how these features help them survive in particular habitats.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This activity could serve as a strong bridge to an appropriate investigation with various live plants. Be sure students record information they gain from the activity about plants and their leaves in a simple chart. Provide additional video, pictures, print resources, or live plants to allow students to make and record comparisons between examples in the activity and the examples provided by the teacher.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This resource covers specific plants and their specialized leaves that help them survive in their particular habitat. In order to address this Core Idea, provide other examples of plants through video or print materials that show a greater variety of plants within one type of environment and in several different environments. Have students make comparisons and identify similarities and differences in leaves among the plant varieties, and discuss how these leaves contribute to the plants' survival.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Reinforce this Crosscutting Concept by encouraging students to draw and label the plants and leaves they observed during the activity. Students can then discuss and write about how particular parts and leaf shapes help plants survive.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This activity uses animation to describe the specialized features of plants that contribute to biodiversity. The teacher should follow the suggested tips and provide additional examples of plants and their leaves as well as locally sourced live examples in order to strengthen all three dimensions of the standard.

  • Instructional Supports: The online activity is easy to navigate with little support and is narrated. Students with special needs or English Language Learners will need the usual instructional supports as provided in the classroom.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: There is a short one answer quiz after each plant and their leaf information is presented. The student response is either confirmed as correct or is followed up with a verbal explanation of the correct response if the student fails to answer the question correctly. Teachers can review the activity on a whiteboard or class monitor with the whole class to check for understanding. It is up to the teacher to develop formative pre or post assessments and rubrics if desired.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The resource engages the learner as a participant in a game show style activity. They listen to information then answer a question after each section. It does not allow for students to manipulate or otherwise guide the activity. Interaction with the program is limited to selecting answers to questions.