Leaf Identification 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 leaf identification with this helpful lesson plan. They will study a text lesson, take a quiz to follow up, and participate in a fun, hands-on activity about leaves.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson on leaf identification, your students will be able to:

  • Determine whether leaves are simple or compound
  • Distinguish between palmate and pinnate leaves
  • Explain what leaves actually are and their main function


1 - 1.5 Hours


Key Vocabulary

  • Compound leaves
  • Gingko
  • Leaflets
  • Palmate
  • Pinnate
  • Simple leaves
  • Vein

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


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


  • Let your students know they will be studying the interesting topic known as leaf identification.
  • Ask them if anyone is familiar with the topic or has ever spent time actually identifying leaves.
  • Review the seven key vocabulary terms.
  • Pass out copies of the text lesson Types of Leaves: Structure & Arrangement.
  • Read the introduction and the first section, 'What Makes a Leaf a Leaf?
    • What part of the human body are leaves similar to in their functioning?
    • Like lungs, are leaves responsible for gas exchange?
    • What are the two groups of leaves?
  • Next read the section 'Simple Leaves and Their Structures.'
    • What kinds of blades do simple leaves have?
    • What is the central stem on a compound leaf called?
    • Can you name four examples of simple leaves?
  • Now read the section 'Compound Leaves and Their Structures.'
    • What kind of blades do compound leaves have?
    • What are palmate compound leaves?
    • What are pinnate compound leaves?
    • Can you name four examples of compound leaves?
  • Next read the section 'What About Gingkos?'
    • Does a gingko leaf appear to be simple or compound?
    • To which group does a gingko leaf belong?
    • What can be helpful in the field of leaf identification?
  • Now read the section 'Lesson Summary' of this leaf identification lesson, recap the entire lesson, and ask your students if they have any pertinent questions.
  • Lastly, have your students take the lesson quiz to demonstrate their grasp of these newly acquired facts.

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