This lesson plan implements the Foss Program as the differentiated instructional strategy for 3rd grade science.

Leaf Structures


Subject(s) Mathematics, Science

Topic or Unit of Study

Life Science ­Leaf Structures and Graphs

Grade/Level Grade 3


Students will learn to review the leaf structures collected by peers and describe, classify, and graph the leaves.  They will make descriptions on the structure of leaves based on the vein size, leaf size and color.  Be able to make inferences based on observations.

Once the collected leaves are classified students will make a group graph based on the classifications.  Whole class will build a graph and make estimations on the types of leaves collected.  Students will create a word problem that can be solved using the graph.


Students will work together to observe and identify the leaves that have been collected by peers.  In groups students will share and discuss what type of leaves found from school and home.  A graphic organizer will used to classify the leaves and descriptions the group has determined based on plan type and structure.  Once the organizers are complete students and teacher will create a graph from the leaves found and graph the plant types and structure.  Graph will used during math lesson to create and solve word problems with graph created.


Learning Context

Using the Foss program, the main idea is for students to observe the plant life in their area: school or at home.  Students bring in samples and work together to understand the various plant structures.  The students will have knowledge of the plant life based on previous lessons to help students to understand the structure and make inferences and to classify the plants in group.  Leaves collected will be considered manipulatives and students will be able to compare the leaves to help see real life examples of plant life.

The activities in the science lesson can be use in math lesson to help student create and solve their own math problems by creating and using the graph to solve math problems. Students will learn how to classify and make a graph and understand the reason to use graphs in aiding students in future lessons.


Students will be expected 2­3 leaf samples from various plants/trees from home and school.  

Students compare their samples in groups and discuss the size, color, and veins, stem, and surface.  They will make inferences on their comparisons and classify on graphic organizer.  Once the group has one completed chart, class will make one final graph to be posted in class.

In math lesson the graph will be used for students to create word problems for peers to solve.  In groups students will use the graph to make lesson and students will take turns solving the word problems by using the graph created in class.

Differentiated Instruction

Students will have access to investigational research that allows them to use hands ­on resources.  Students can work together to allow collaboration and assistance that need additional help.  When students are working together teacher can walk around to assist any students that need help.

Graphic organizers will be used to help students organize and understand the categories that are needed to classify leaf samples.

The use of one graph that is created will be posted in the class to help assist in math lesson allowing them a chance to work in groups and understand the concepts in both math and science.

Sample Student Products

Collaboration Students will work collaboratively & individually.  Students will work in groups of 4.

Time Allotment 4 class periods.  30 Mins. per class.

Author's Comments &



Instructional Materials

Foss Program for 3rd grade Science which is based on outside research and understanding plant structures based on

science standards for 2rd grade.

Math Word problems will used to help students make connections to how graphs are developed and how they can be

helpful in creating and solving math problems. 



Standards CA­ California K­12 Academic Content Standards

Subject: Mathematics

Grade: Grade ThreeBy the end of grade three, students deepen their understanding of place value and their understanding

of and skill with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers. Students estimate, measure, and

describe objects in space. They use patterns to help solve problems. They represent number rela­tionships and conduct

simple probability experiments.

Area: Number Sense

Sub­Strand 2.0: Students calculate and solve problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division:

Standard 2.1 (Key Standard): Find the sum or difference of two whole numbers between 0 and 10,000.

Standard 2.8: Solve problems that require two or more of the skills mentioned above.

Area: Mathematical Reasoning

Sub­Strand 2.0: Students use strategies, skills, and concepts in finding solutions:

Standard 2.1: Use estimation to verify the reasonableness of calculated results.

Standard 2.3: Use a variety of methods, such as words, numbers, symbols, charts, graphs, tables, diagrams,

and models, to explain mathematical reasoning.

Standard 2.6: Make precise calculations and check the validity of the results from the context of the problem.

Subject: Science

Grade: Grade Three

Area: Life Sciences

Sub­Strand 3: Adaptations in physical structure or behavior may improve an organism’s chance for survival. As a

basis for understanding this concept:

Standard a: Students know plants and animals have structures that serve different functions in growth, survival,

and reproduction.

Area: Investigation and Experimentation

Sub­Strand 5: Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As

a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop

their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:

Standard e: Collect data in an investigation and analyze those data to develop a logical conclusion.


Informal Assessments: Teacher monitors the progress of groups and classification techniques for graphic organizers.

 Teacher also facilitates the collaborations and connections made using leaf samples

The progress for creating the final class graph

The math problems created in class will determine how well students create word problems

Formal Assessment would be math and science quizzes with questions that correspond to main plant graph and on the leaf/plant structure.