Parts of the Leaf Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students are going to learn about the major layers and components of a leaf. They will explore the function of each layer and create a 3-dimensional model of the leaf.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify the layers of a leaf, including their components and function
  • Visualize the components of a leaf in two and three dimensions


60-90 minutes


Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.


Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.


Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words.


  • Begin by asking the class to speculate on the function and structure of leaves.
    • What is the purpose of leaves? Why do plants have leaves?
    • How do you think leaves fulfill their purposes? What sort of structural elements do you think a leaf needs in order to function properly?
  • Begin video lesson Structure of Leaves: The Epidermis, Palisade and Spongy Layers.
  • Pause video at 1:14 and review this information as a class.
    • Where do the leaves originate?
  • Tell students that they will be drawing this diagram of the leaf layers along with the video.
  • Resume video, and pause at 2:04. Discuss this information as a class.
    • What is the cuticle layer? What do you think the purpose of this layer is? What about this layer fulfills that purpose?
    • What is the purpose of the epidermis?
  • Ask students to draw the cuticle and upper epidermis layers of the leaf as the first layers of their diagram.
  • Resume video. Pause at 2:43 and discuss.
    • What is the purpose of the palisade layer? How does this help the plant survive?
  • Ask students to draw the palisade layer on to their diagrams.
  • Resume video. Pause at 4:07.
    • What is the purpose of the spongy layer? How does the spongy layer fulfill its purpose?
  • Ask students to draw the spongy layer on to their diagrams.
  • Resume and complete video. Discuss this information as a class.
    • What is the relationship between the stomata and the lower epidermis?
    • What is the purpose of these layers? How are they different from the top layers?
  • Ask students to add in the last components of their diagrams. Remind them that there is a cuticle layer on the bottom of their leaf as well.
  • You may test student understanding with Lesson Quiz.

Diagram Activity

  • Students should have a 2-dimensional side view of the plant layers after completing the lesson. Inform them that they are next going to make a 3-dimensional model.
  • Hand out four pieces of thick foam board to each student. Ask them to pick out two pieces of waxy poster board or cardboard in the color they want their leaf to be.
  • For the remainder of class, students will construct their model of a leaf. They should follow these steps:

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