The Geometry of Leaves
- Adult supervision recommended when searching the internet.
- Watch for allergies.
Project Time Frame
This project deals with the geometric shapes of leaves.
- To learn what factors determine the shape of a leaf.
- To identify and classify different types of leaves by their shape.
- To develop new ideas that incorporate the shapes of leaves.
Materials and Equipment
- Computer with internet access
- Color printer
- Digital camera
- Assorted leaf samples
- Magnifying glass
- Microscope (optional)
- Typical office/craft supplies (such as paper, pens & poster-board)
Trees use leaves to store water and nutrients. We appreciate leaves for their natural beauty, their nutritional value, the cool shade they provide on hot summer days, and the fun we have jumping from the bare autumn branches into a great big pile of them. Every now and then, we pick one up and examine it more closely. In this project we’ll explore the factors that determine the shape of a leaf.
- What is a leaf?
- What are leaves for?
- How are leaves (or the properties of leaves) used advantageously by humans and other animals?
- What determines the shape of a leaf?
Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research
- Carbon Dioxide
- Research related materials (see bibliography below)
- Select 20-30 different leaf specimens.
- Search, print, label, and categorize photos of leaves you find interesting.
- Examine, identify, categorize, and photograph each specimen you collect.
- Study the properties of each individual leaf. Record all observations.
- Discover and explain the factors that determine the shape of a leaf.
- Preserve your specimens by drying them (optional).
- Interpret your results in a detailed report.
- Show results visually using photos taken throughout the course of the experiment.
- Include beautiful leaf arrangements in your science fair display.
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.