MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > Classify the trees/Leaves

Classify the trees/Leaves

Mary Walsh
Stevens Elementary
Dawson, MN 56232
Author Profile


Students will go outside and look at trees and gather leaves. Students will work cooperatively to sort and classify leaves and trees in Minnesota/school property.
A description of this activity is provided. Students will also develop a new sense of nature

Learning Goals

This activity is designed for students to be able to classify and identify tress of Minnesota. Students will use skills such as observation, comparing, contrasting, cooperative learning and journaling.

Context for Use

Students will go outside and look for trees and gather leaves. Working cooperatively they will sort and try to classify the trees/leaves.

Subject: Biology
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity:Short Activity:Socratic Questioning, Activities:Field Activity
Special Interest: Field-Based Teaching and Learning
Grade Level: Intermediate (3-5)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Enhancing your Teaching:Teaching in the Field

Description and Teaching Materials

Day 1:

Explain the perimeters of the field study.
Hand out bags and tools for leave collection
Journals with T chart (I saw I wonder)

Day 2

Small groups will sort leaves into groups that they think make sense explain their thinking and record data in journals
Hand out leave identification chart
Compare and contrast
Regroup leaves and class discussion on different kinds of trees/leaves in MN
Write reflections in journal

Day 3:
Go back out and name and draw leaves/tress in notebook

Oral quiz: Name that tree!

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity could be a great activity in the fall and spring.
Take a quick walk before the lesson so you know where the trees are in the playground and school property.
The only concern is emphasize tree respect and animal homes.

We have always talked about the different kinds of trees and location but never really did a hands on activity.


Learning goals will be assessed by doing a common rubric to score the journals and oral
testing with tree and leaf identification.


IV B 1
Students will classify Plants - Trees by their Characteristics (Life Science)
I. B. 2 Students will collect, organize, analyze, and present data from a controlled experiment (Inquiry)

References and Resources