Identifying Leaves of Pennsylvania
 

By: G. Less and J. Wenzel

Adapted for Mrs. Hersey's Science Classes

Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Introduction

Welcome to the forests of Pennsylvania. Look around and get comfortable. You will be here for a while. You are part of a team of four newly hired botanists for the Pennsylvania Department of Forestry. People have a lot of questions about leaves. Will you have the answers they seek?
 
 

























Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion

Task 
Your job is to produce a set of fact cards. Visitors walking in the state forests of Pennsylvania will be able to use these cards to identify the most common deciduous trees of Pennsylvania by their leaves. The leaf characteristics fact cards must include drawings of important characterics in the identification of leaves. The tree identification fact cards must include the name of the tree, type, shape, arrangement and margins of the most common leaves in Pennsylvania.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion

Process 

The class will be divided into groups of 4. Get your group
                        assignment from your teacher.

Decide which of the following roles each member of your
             group will assume.
  • The leaf shape specialist: This person is responsible for finding the most common shapes of leaves. All common shapes should be drawn and labeled on a 5 X 8 notecard. You should be able to find at least 11 common shapes.
  • The leaf margin/edges specialist: This person is responsible for finding the most common shapes of the teeth of the leaves. All common margins should be drawn and labeled on a 5 X 8 notecard. You should be able to find at least 9 common edges of leaves.
  • The leaf arrangement/position specialist: This person is responsible for finding the most common arrangements of the leaves on the twigs of the tree. All common arrangements should be drawn and labeled on a 5 X8 notecard. You should be able to find at least 3 common leaf positions.
  • The leaf type specialist: This person is responsible for finding the most common ways that the leaves grow from the stem. All common types should be drawn and labeled on a 5 X 8 notecard. You should be able to find at least 3 common types.
  • Specialists, you must now locate the required information for your leaf characteristics notecards as listed behind your role. The following sites should contain a lot of the information that is necessary for the completion of this task. You may also use leaf identification books to locate the information. On each card, the source of your facts must be listed.
     

    Websites for Leaf Characteristics Cards:

    Common Trees of Pennsylvania Glossary

    Temperate Deciduous Forest: Types of Leaves

    Explanation of Categories

    Tree Terms Worksheet

    Types of Leaves

    Plant Morphology

    When each specialist has completed their leaf characteristic card, one member of the group should see the teacher for a stack of 3X5 notecards and choose two trees your group will be responsible for.
    On the front of each tree identification card write the name of one of the 2 trees from the list below that you choose.
    Common Trees of Pennsylvania
         
      Ash
      Aspen
      Basswood
      Beech
      Birch
         
      Buckeye
      Butternut
      Catalpa
      Cherry
      Chestnut
         
      Dogwood
      Elder
      Elm
      Gum
      Hackberry
         
      Hickory
      Linden
      Locust
      Magnolia
      Maple
         
      Mulberry
      Oak
      Persimmon
      Redbud
      Sassafras
         
      Serviceberry
      Sycamore
      Tuliptree
      Walnut
      Willow
     
    On the back of each tree identification card print the following words:
    Tree Name:
    Type:
    Shape:
    Margin:

    Arrangement:

    As a group use the websites listed below to find a picture and description of the leaves of the trees you choose. Each expert should use their knowledge of leaf characteristics (shape, margin, arrangement and type) to fill in the information on the tree identification card.
    Bonus points are available if you sketch or cut and paste a picture of the leaf on the front of each card.
     
    Example FRONT of 3 X 5 card
    Example BACK of 3 X 5 card 
    Staghorn Sumac

    (Bonus: picture of leaf)

    Type: Odd-pinnately compound

    Shape: Lance-shaped 

    Margin: Toothed

    Arrangement/position: Alternate

     
     
            Websites for Tree Identification Cards:
    Common Trees of Pennsylvania
    Tree Finder: Leaf Identification Guide

    Leaf Identification Pictures

    Tree Identification Cards Index

    The Big List
     
     
















    Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion

    Evaluation
     
     
     
     

    Leaf Characteristics Cards Scoring Rubric

    accuracy of facts 
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    drawings
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    neatness
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    spelling
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    works cited
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
     
    Group Participation Scoring Rubric
     
    stayed on task
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    shared information
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    worked well with others
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
     
    Tree Identification Cards Scoring Rubric
     
    accuracy of facts 
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    neatness
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    spelling
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    works cited
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
     
    Bonus Points for leaf sketch on front of cards _____
     
     

    Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Conclusion 

    Your team of botanists should know a wealth of information about Pennsylvania's deciduous trees and their leaves. You should be able to help visitors as they ask you to identify leaves. Explain the leaf shapes, margins, arrangements and types using your leaf characteristics cards, then help people identify the trees with the tree identification cards. Teach visitors how to use your cards for their own leaf collections. Visit the forests often.

    Other leaf identification resources:

    Leaf Key - Find a leaf and use the clues given here to determine the type of tree.

    Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion