Lesson plan

Leafy Numbers

In this leafy, plant-themed lesson, students will use leaves as they practice recognizing various numbers from 1 to 15. This lesson can be easily adapted for use with specific ranges of numbers.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the How Many Butterflies? pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the How Many Butterflies? pre-lesson.
  • Students will be able to write, recognize, and count numbers from 1 to 15.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Have the students sit in a circle, and show them the brown bag that has the leaves inside.
  • Invite them to guess what is inside the bag.
  • Shake the bag so they can hear the sounds, and go around the circle, allowing them to feel what is inside.
  • After the students have guessed, pour the leaves out in the middle of the circle, inside a hula hoop or circular piece of string.
  • Tell the students that today they will be working on finding the total number of leaves on their own trees.
(5 minutes)
  • Using the SMART Board file or the teacher modeling poster, model the process of counting the leaves on the tree and then writing the total number of leaves on the tree trunk.
  • Optional: Use student materials to demonstrate the process.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell the students that they will be creating their own leaves and adding their leaves to their own tree. Together the class will be making a forest of trees.
  • Make sure that students understand that the leaves will be counted and the total number of leaves should be written on the trunk of the tree.
  • Have the students create leaf rubbings or have the students trace templates of leaves and cut their own leaves from construction paper.
  • Show the students how to create a tree trunk out of brown construction paper.
  • Guide the students through the process of creating one tree that has numbered leaves with the total number of leaves written on the trunk.
(15 minutes)
  • Direct the students to continue working on creating trees and finding the total number of leaves.
  • Have the students glue their tree trunks and leaves on white tagboard.
  • Ask the students to number the leaves and write the total on their tree trunks.
  • Circulate around the room to assist students, as needed.


  • For students who may work more slowly in cutting out materials, provide additional precut or prepared leaves for the students to use in their work. For students who have difficulty counting the leaves accurately, draw illustrations on additional SMART Board slides, and lead the students in counting the leaves. Consider integrating body movement, such as clapping or tapping each time they say a number.


  • Challenge students to help the mother bird find the baby birds in the tree by completing the Counting to 20: Mama Bird worksheet.
  • Integrate the concept of a family tree by having the students create a digital family tree where they include pictures of family members.
  • Ask them to count the number of people in their families.
(5 minutes)
  • Give each student a blank index card.
  • Call out a number, such as the number three, and ask students to draw three leaves on the card, writing the number three next to the leaves.
  • Tell the students to turn the card over.
  • Call out another number, and have the students repeat the process.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask the students to raise their hands if they have a tree with greater than 10 leaves.
  • Invite students to share their trees and show how they counted their leaves.
  • Ask the students to raise their hands if they have fewer than 10 leaves.
  • Invite students to share their trees with the rest of the group.

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