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Swiss Chard: Examine Leaf Structure

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Swiss Chard is a great leaf to use when examining the structure of a leaf due to its large size and the contrast in color from the stem to its leaf.

Grade Level:


The students will understand the functions of a leaf and be able to describe the different parts of the leaf.

Nutritional Objective:

(Insert Nutritional Obj. Here)


Swiss Chard leaf

Samples of many different types of leaves

Magnifying glass

Plain paper and Crayons


Parts of a Leaf Vocabulary:
Stem (Petiole)
Primary Vein

Learning Activities:

Introduce the swiss chard leaf, the swiss chard leaf is a great leaf to use due to its size and contrast in color.

Allow students in pairs, or small groups examine the structure of the swiss chard leaf. Encourage them to look closely with magnifying glasses, and to touch the leaf. Have them compare the swiss chard leaf to the other leaves. How are they alike? How are they different? Are they similar in shape? How do the leaves feel?

Using the swiss chard leaf as the example, go over with students the parts of the leaf. Begin with the stem of the leaf. Have students start at the stem of their swiss chard leaf, and then finger trace the primary vein from the base to the tip of the leaf. Do they notice the other veins branching out from the primary vein? Have students finger trace a smaller vein from the primary vein. Where does it go? Did the vein branch out even more? Explain to students that the vein delivers the water and nutrients to smaller veins so that the whole leaf receives the nutrients.

Have students finger trace the primary vein once again, to the tip of the leave. Have students examine the leaf as a whole, which is the blade. Are there any lobes on their leaf? Have them count the lobes.
Have students make a leaf rubbing of the leaf by placing a piece of paper over the leaf and lightly rubbing a crayon over the paper. The image of the leaf will appear on the paper. Have students label the parts of the leaf accordingly. (A word bank posted would be ideal.)


Using a visual (a plant diagram or an actual plant), discuss with students the four parts of a plant, the root, stem, leaves and flower. Ask students to describe the functions of each part and why they are important to the plant.
The leaf is the part of the plant that receives the water and nutrients for the plant and makes the food for the plant. Discuss as well that leaves help make oxygen by absorbing the carbon dioxide, or used air and breathes out fresh air for us to breath. Hold up some samples of leaves for students to see and pass them around. Have students break up into pairs or small groups and tell them that they will be examining a leaf up close.


Ask students which part of a plant do they eat the most?  What kinds of leaves do we eat?  Why are leaves important to the plant?  Why are leaves important for us?