Conifer Tree Leaves Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Educate your students about conifers with this lesson plan. The students will view a fascinating video lesson, partake in three hands-on activities, and try a follow-up quiz to reinforce newly learned material.

Learning Objectives

After reviewing this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Describe the reproductive process of conifers
  • Explain what makes a tree a conifer
  • Name several types of coniferous trees


1-1.5 Hours


Key Vocabulary

  • California redwood
  • Cedars
  • Firs
  • Giant sequoia
  • Gymnosperm
  • Needle type
  • Ovulate cones
  • Pines
  • Pollen cones
  • Spruces

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.


Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.


  • Inform your students they will be learning about conifers.
  • Ask them if anyone is familiar with conifers.
  • Display images of the California redwood and giant sequoia.
  • Review vocabulary terms.
  • Start the video lesson Conifers: Species, Types & Characteristics and pause for the first time at 0:45.
    • What do conifers produce?
    • What purpose do pinecones serve?
    • What is the definition of a conifer?
    • From what two Greek words is the term conifer derived?
  • Next restart the video and pause for a second time at 1:34.
    • To what classification do conifers belong?
    • What do conifers have instead of leaves?
    • Are most conifers evergreens?
    • In what two climate extremes can conifers thrive?
  • Now restart the video and pause this time at 2:59.
    • How are conifers normally classified?
    • How many conifer species are there?
    • What are the four main categories?
    • How do the needles of these four types vary?
  • Again, restart the video and pause at 3:57.
    • Which conifer is the tallest living organism on the planet?
    • Which conifer is almost as tall but also has massive girth?
    • Can you name two conifers that are deciduous instead of evergreen?
    • Where does the juniper thrive?
    • For what can homeowners use arborvitae?
  • Restart the video and pause for the last time at 5:25.
    • What are the two types of pinecones?
    • What two ways are conifer seeds distributed?
  • Finally, restart the video and view the section 'Lesson Summary.'
  • Recap the video lesson in its entirety, answer any relevant questions, and have the students take the lesson quiz to demonstrate understanding.

Activity One

  • Inform your students they are going to draw a picture of their favorite conifer.
  • Divide your students up into pairs.
  • Pass out colored markers and one large sheet of poster board for each student.
  • Have your students use the Internet to select a photo of their favorite conifer.
    • You can turn your poster board vertically for taller trees, or horizontally for broader trees.
    • You can draw some of the vegetation as well as the land and sky around your tree.
  • Lastly, have the students share their drawings with the rest of the class, and ask each student why they picked their particular conifer.

Activity Two

  • Let your students know they are going to go outside (with permission) to identify some conifers and collect some samples.
  • Bring a pair of gloves and a bucket to collect the samples.
  • Take the students outside and have them look for any coniferous trees.
    • Since some pinecones and needles are fairly sharp or sticky, point them out and I will pick them up with gloves.
  • Point out the obvious differences between coniferous and deciduous trees. Note which season it is and how this affects the way the two types of trees look next to each other.
  • Point out any smaller coniferous trees and bushes. If you happen to have any rarer deciduous conifers, point them out as well.
  • Take the students back inside and examine the plant specimens, especially noting the length of the needles and if they are sharp or soft.

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