Leaf It To Me

Discovery Education
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.



Students participate in a leaf scavenger hunt and create a leaf collection. Through the lesson students identify characteristics such as leaf size, thickness and texture and explore how these characteristics help plants survive in their environment.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

1-LS1-1 Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.

Clarification Statement: Examples of human problems that can be solved by mimicking plant or animal solutions could include designing clothing or equipment to protect bicyclists by mimicking turtle shells, acorn shells, and animal scales; stabilizing structures by mimicking animal tails and roots on plants; keeping out intruders by mimicking thorns on branches and animal quills; and, detecting intruders by mimicking eyes and ears.

Assessment Boundary: none

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
After creating sorted groups of leaves by shared characteristics students can discuss the benefit of each characteristic for plant survival. Teachers may choose to follow up the lesson with having students design e.g. human clothing or fun hats for use in the environmental conditions as described on the activity cards.

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
Young children have strong observational skills. Students try to make sense of what they have observed and often their justification resides equally in reality and fantasy. Teachers may ask guiding questions to encourage possible explanation to both pattern and phenomena.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
To further develop the Core Idea the teach may choose a demonstration of two plants, same species. Remove leaves from one plant and observe what happens. Give each same amount of water and sunlight. Have students reason why the plant with missing leaves experiences a deteriorated condition.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The teacher may have students compare flatness of leaves to the design of solar panels.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson has a strong alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards. The lesson lays the ground work for further development of observational skills, identifying pattern and exploring structure. The lesson does not incorporate the engineering aspect of the Performance Expectation. Teachers may choose to include this lesson a part of a wider lesson on the plants.

  • Instructional Supports: The worksheet designed for K-1 is appropriate for the instructional level of students. Teacher should note the additional worksheet contain above grade level text.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The objective of the activity is for students to recognize there are many kinds of plants with special features that help them to survive. The lesson focuses on the leaves of these plants. While students are asked to collect leaves, sort by characteristic, teachers are not asked to attain formal assessment. Teachers must use student observation and student interview to gain informal assessment data. See "Tips for Including the PE" for summative assessment. This lesson could be strengthened by the teacher creating a rubric to assess student understanding or a formative assessment.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -