This free, printable, unit study is a ministry of Heather Idoni, and Funschooling Units
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# 3

Falling Leaves

(A unit study by Karen Caroe) 


Age/Grade Level
--all ages. I have used this with ages 3 through grade 9.

Unit length--as short or as long as you want to make it.

Expansion topics--Plant classification (not just leaves), plants in specific habitats (desert, rain forest, western US/eastern US), Gardening (growing specific plants to achieve a desired goal--for example, a garden to attract butterflies.) Bible unit on plants ("I am the vine.....)

"And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind, and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:12


KONOS Character Curriculum vol 1. Thaxton and Hulcey.

Considering God's Creation
Eagle's Wings pub.

Any Nature Periodical ( Nature Friend, Nat'l Geographic, Nat'l Geographic World, Big Backyard, Ranger Rick.)

A field guide to Trees--choose one that will have common American trees, easy to reference, with your geographic region listed.

Check your poetry books for poems about trees and/or leaves.

A Kid's Fall EcoJournal by Toni Albert (available in Bookstores)--lots of great activities

The Backyard Explorer has guide and collection album kit available in bookstores. We used it our first year and it was FABULOUS. Great for younger kids.

DK Family Learning has many many age-appropriate books on different subjects--enough to create a whole unit study. Please e-mail me ( for more information.

The Unit

Select the activities under each subject heading that you would like to do and order them into a study that will meet your family needs. Simplify activities for younger children or increase the difficulty for older (Jr.Hi/Hi-school) students.
**If you would like suggestions for doing this, I will be happy to help you. Simply e-mail your request to


1) Vocabulary/Spelling: deciduous, serrated, evergreen, conifer, chloroplast, monocot, dicot, lobed, palmate. (For younger children: leaf, tree, bark, green, cone, flower.)
2) Alphabetize, define, and use the words in sentences.
3) Study adjectives. Use adjectives to describe leaves in each season. Practice writing sentences using adjectives.
4) Study verbs. What do leaves "do". Practice writing sentences using verbs with "leaves" as the subject.
5) Study personification. Give human characteristics to leaves--such as might be seen in poetry. Write a poem about Falling Leaves.
6) Read poetry about leaves or trees. Turn it into prose. Which sounds better? Why?
7) Memorize a poem.
8) Write an opinion paper about which trees/leaves you like best. and why.
9) This is a collection of poems written by elementary students about leaves that were sent to them. A good sampling of student writing.
10) This is a poem/song about raking leaves.
11) This is an interesting essay written by a student. It has a ton of mistakes and would be good to copy and have child find mistakes and practice editing skills.


1) Go on a nature walk and collect as many specimens of leaves as you can. Start close to home so you can go back to a tree. Don't forget to get 'ugly' ones. Ones that have been eaten through or bitten off. Get a lot of pretty ones, in all colors, too.
2) Sort leaves by characteristics. Let the child decide which ones go together. Hint: Start with simple and compound leaves. Simple leaves are all one leaf like an elm or pin oak. Compound leaves are made up of leaflets and look like they have lots of little leaves. Our mimosa tree is like this. See this site for help.
3) Note other characteristics. Leaf edges (serrated, smooth, lobed). Veins of leaves (palmate or parallel.)
4) Put leaves in a science journal. We used a glue stick to hold the leaf down on a page and then covered it with clear contact paper.
5) Take photographs of trees to put with the leaves.
6) Do bark rubbings from trees and put them with the leaves.
7)Do any of the trees have flowers? If so collect a flower sample (with owners permission). Press the flower for a week or so until it dries. Then put it in the notebook as you did the leaves
8) Have student create a matching game by drawing or collecting pictures of leaves. Match the picture to the name of the tree or a picture of the tree. Hint: If you have a geosafari, have the student create a game on a make-your-own gameboard. They learn so much by making the games.
9) Discuss photosynthesis. Learn why leaves are green, why they are necessary, and why they change colors. This is an essay that was published in a newspaper. It is pretty good. Especially for older children.
10) Collect specimens from Conifers. How are they different? Are there ways to sort conifers? See this great site for a discussion of conifers--written by Native American students.

MATH This is an educational site that has a printer-ready math problem about estimating leaves.


1) You may be able to find some information on the history of leaf collecting but...
2) I would use this time to read a biography. Perhaps George Washington Carver or Thomas Jefferson. Carver was a great scientist that perfected uses for the peanut. Jefferson, of course, is a famous American Father but he had a particular love for trees, leaves and plants.


1) Carefully pin a flat leaf to a sheet of paper, then dip a toothbrush in some tempra paint and with a popsicle stick or your finger, rub across the toothbrush to spatter the paint on and around the leaf. When the paint is dry, remove the leaf. (KONOS)
2) Put colored leaves between 2 sheets of wax paper and Iron. This makes a "stained-glass" picture you can hang up.
3) Make stationary with dried leaves. stick them to an edge and cover with clear contact paper. You can alwo make placemats and bookmarks this way. (Another KONOS idea.)


Use a concordance or other reference books to look up scriptures about trees, leaves, plants etc. Apply the spiritual truths. This is a great family study as there are many references.


Try this recipe for Chocolate Leaves


1) Of course your little ones will enjoy going on nature walks and can learn to identify leaves. Give them a bag and let them pick up leaves, sticks, rocks, etc. You can sort and toss later. Use the time to discuss why you don't pick things of other peoples trees or gardens.
2) Let your little one have a bottle of school glue and some cardboard. Let them glue their collection of stuff to the board. It's messy but it'll clean up.
3) Find some story books about trees and autumn from the library. Let the older children practice reading aloud to the little ones.
4) Find a short poem they can memorize. Believe it or not, a child as young as 2 can do a great job with memorization.
5) Read a storybook onto a tape (don't forget page turn signals) Let the child listen and read while you work with older children. I bought a great one at the bookstore called Why Do Leaves Change Color? (A Let's-Read-And-Find-Out-Science Book)
6) Let them do bark rubbings.
7) Practice counting leaves.
8) Practice sorting skills.


I hope you enjoy this unit as much as my family does. We try to do it every year. It is relaxing, fun, and gets the children outside one last time before winter hits.



For questions, comments, and suggestions, Please e-mail Heather at

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