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Activities and Lesson Plans

Cover-Leave it to Leaves

Related 4th Grade TEKS


4.5 A: Number, operation, and quantitative reasoning. The student estimates to determine reasonable results; (A) round whole numbers to the nearest ten, hundred, or thousand to approximate reasonable results in problem situations.

4.8 A, B: Geometry and spatial reasoning. The student identifies and describes lines, shapes, and solids using formal geometric language; (A) identify right, acute, and obtuse angles; (B) identify models of parallel and perpendicular lines.

Language Arts

4.5 A, B, D, F: Listening/speaking/audiences. The student speaks appropriately to different audiences for different purposes and occasions; (A) adapt spoken language such as word choice, diction, and usage to the audience, purpose, and occasion; (B) demonstrate effective communications skills that reflect such demands as interviewing, reporting, requesting, and providing information; (D) use effective rate, volume, pitch, and tone for the audience and setting; (F) clarify and support spoken ideas with evidence, elaborations, and examples.

4.9 C: Reading/vocabulary development. The student acquires an extensive vocabulary through reading and systematic word study; (C) use multiple reference aids, including a thesaurus, a synonym finder, a dictionary, and software, to clarify meanings and usage (4-8)


4.1 A, B: Scientific processes. The student conducts field and laboratory investigations following home and school safety procedures and environmentally appropriate and ethical practices; (A) demonstrate safe practices during field and laboratory investigations; and; (B) make wise choices in the use and conservation of resources and the disposal or recycling of materials.

4.2 A, B, C, D, E:- Scientific processes. The student uses scientific inquiry methods during field and laboratory investigations; (A) plan and implement descriptive investigations including asking well-defined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and selecting and using equipment and technology; (B) collect information by observing and measuring;(C) analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct and indirect evidence;(D) communicate valid conclusions; and; (E) construct simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts to organize, examine, and evaluate information.

4.11 C: Science concepts. The student knows that the natural world includes earth materials and objects in the sky;(C) identify the Sun as the major source of energy for the Earth and understand its role in the growth of plants, in the creation of winds, and in the water cycle.

Social Studies

4.22 B: Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of sources including electronic technology; (B) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions.

Technology Applications

4.1 B: Foundations. The student demonstrates knowledge and appropriate use of hardware components, software programs, and their connections;(B) save and delete files, uses menu options and commands, and work with more than one software application.

4.11 A, B: Communication. The student delivers the product electronically in a variety of media, with appropriate supervision; (A) publish information in a variety of media including, but not limited to, printed copy, monitor display, Internet documents, and video; and (B) use presentation software to communicate with specific audiences.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do plants have leaves? What is glucose?
  2. What happens during photosynthesis? What does the prefix "photo" mean? The suffix "synthesis?"
  3. What kind of relationship do plants and animals have? Explain what carbon dioxide and oxygen have to do with it. What does "inhale" mean? "Exhale?"
  4. What's the difference between deciduous and evergreen plants? Why do some plants lose their leaves during the winter?
  5. Tell about the anatomy of a leaf. Hint: What are its three main parts and what do they do?
  6. Why do leaves change color in the fall? What are pigments? Which pigment is green? Which pigment do leaves have to have to do photosynthesis?
  7. Besides photosynthesis, what other work do leaves do?
  8. CHALLENGE QUESTION: Imagine what would happen if leaves disappeared. What would happen? How would animals survive (including us)? Why would it be a problem if there were no leaves? What can we do so that never happens?

What's Been Hiding All Along?

Here's a way to learn about how light effects the color of leaves. When leaves on a tree are still green, cover part of a leaf with aluminum foil. (Be sure to choose a tree that you know will turn bright colors.) Use masking tape to tape the foil to the leaf. If you and a friend will both do it, sign your names on the masking tape so you know which is which. Wait for the leaves on the tree to change color, then remove the foil and see the colors that were in the leaf all summer!

Hang Leaf

Use the words on "Vocabulary" page of this month's online resources to play "Hang Leaf" with a partner. You guessed it! It’s just like Hangman, but with a leaf! And, instead of a gallows, draw a branch from which to hang your leaf. HINT: Decide ahead of time if your leaf gets eyes, ears, a nose, a mouth, arms, legs, fingers, and toes so that you and your partner are both playing by the same rules BEFORE you start the game.)

Who Cuts Leaves? Leaf-Cutter Ants, That’s Who!

It's your turn to be the teacher! Watch this video about leaf-cutter ants: Then, write 5 questions for your classmates (who will watch it, too). Communicate your questions clearly so your “students” aren’t confused. Oh, and don’t forget to make an answer key!

To Photosynthesize or Not to Photosynthesize

It's for you to decide! Check it out at:


Chromatography Time

Chroma-what?! Chromatography is a way of separating things so that you can see the separations. What you’ll separate during this experiment are the different colors in a leaf. When you use a green leaf you’ll be surprised to find out just how many other colors are really hidden underneath the chlorophyll pigment! In the first experiment listed on this link, you’ll learn how to find out what colors are hiding underneath the leaf’s green chlorophyll. This is a very cool science experiment, but you definitely need an adult to supervise. And, when you’re done, be sure you dispose of the remains of your experiment properly – that’s always an important part of science experiments, too!

How is solar energy similar to photosynthesis?

This site gives some hints to help you answer this question: After you’ve thought about it, prepare a PowerPoint for your class. Make it your presentation interesting by adding videos and images. Make sure to explain what solar energy is, what photosynthesis is, and then compare the two.