Comparing Two Leaves

Kong Yang
Glacier Hills Elementary
Eagan, MN


In this activity, students will be doing observations outside and working in pairs. With their partners, students will be comparing and contrasting two different types of leaves. After the students are finished, the students will share their findings with each other.

Learning Goals

By the end of this activity, students will be able to label a Venn diagram using the two leaves that they have. This activity is designed for students to use a variety of skills including critical thinking, questioning and answering, predicting, observing, drawing conclusions, reflecting and discussing.

Context for Use

This activity is designed for ELL or lower grade level students. It is designed for students to work in pairs and to help students practice critical thinking, questioning and answering, predicting, observing, drawing conclusions, reflecting and discussing in a small group. The allotted time for this activity will be about 4 days at 30 minutes/ day.

Subject: Biology
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity, Field Activity
Special Interest: Field-Based Teaching and Learning
Grade Level: Primary (K-2)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Enhancing your Teaching:Teaching in the Field

Description and Teaching Materials


Day One
Take students on a nature walk. Stop at a few spots where you can see leaves and have students make observations. During the observation sharing, ask students questions about the leaves. Questions like: What can you tell me about this leaf? How is this different from other leaves? Why is it that shape? During the discussion, go over words that will describe or tell about a leaf. Words like vein, round edges, flat, short, narrow, sharp edges, etc. Then have students find a leaf to take it back to the classroom.

Day Two
Have the students write in their journal what they saw the day before. Give the students a chance to share their thoughts and observations. Tell the students to open their journal to a clean page. Have the students glue their leaf on that page. Then have the students label their leaf. When finished, have the students share how they labeled their leaf. Then have the students find a partner and take the students outside to find two different leaves.

Day Three
1. Have students get together with their partner from the day before.
2. Hand each group their two leaves.
3. Looking at their leaves, have the students ask you questions. As the students are saying the questions, make sure you are writing them on the whiteboard.
4. When you feel that the students have asked you plenty of good questions, then stop and pick three good investigable questions by circling them in a different marker.
5. Have the students look at their leaves and make a prediction.
6. From the three questions, have each group pick a question for their group.
7. Give each student a three-column worksheet to make their observations. One top of the worksheet, there should be Sample A, Share, and Sample B written respectively.
8. Tell the students that you will give them the first ten minutes to observe to with their eyes and write down what they see.
9. After the ten minutes, give each student a hand lens. Give them ten minutes to make their observations with it.

Day Four
1. Have students transfer their observations from their column worksheet to a Venn diagram.
2. After they are finished with that, have the students write their claims-and-evidence statement.

2 leaves for each group (native to school environment)
Venn diagram worksheet (one for each student)
Three-column worksheet (one for each student)
Hand lenses

Teaching Notes and Tips

1. Make sure you teach students how to use a Venn diagram in a previous lesson.
2. Make sure all components (purpose, prediction, plan, observations, claims and evidence, conclusions and reflection) are taught to the students beforehand.
3. Encourage students to do the observations without help from you, the teacher.


After 15 minutes, have each group share their claims and evidence with the class. Provide students the opportunity to reflect on their learning and observations.

Standards Describe and sort plants into groups in many ways, according to their physical characteristics and behaviors.

References and Resources