Sunday, May 21, 2017


Lesson 6 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Botany is all about "Leaves."  There was a lot of new vocabulary in this lesson, with all the many leaf processes and shapes, arrangements, venations, and margins, but Maggie really got into it and we had a lot of fun.  It's impossible not to have fun with this curriculum!
As with every lesson in this text, we used the Junior Botany Notebooking Journal to record the things we were learning.
To introduce leaves, we first read this book, A Leaf Can Be ... by Laura Purdie Salas.
Then, we read from our text about the stomata of leaves and the transfer through them of carbon dioxide and oxygen.  We learned how important leaves are for our survival.  Breathing would be much more difficult for us without leaves!

From our text, we moved on to Usborne's Mysteries & Marvels of Nature book to read more about these important stomata (page 115).
(Here is the image from that page.)
We saw another magnified image of stomata in our Plant Adaptations science photo cards pack (below).
After our additional research on stomata, we colored the pages in our notebooking journal (pages 94-95) while we watched the "Don't Forget the Leaves" episode of Sid the Science Kid on The Bug Club DVD.
You can find that same episode at (below).
We also watched the "Clean Air" episode of Sid the Science Kid from the Going, Going, Green! DVD, about how plants clean the air we breathe.
To demonstrate how plants produce gas, we did the "Magic Balloon" experiment out of our 501 Science Experiments book (#92).
First, we poured a fresh package of active dry yeast (which represented our plant) into an empty, plastic water bottle.  We then added some warm water to the bottle and a teaspoon of sugar.  
We swirled the solution inside the bottle around and then placed a balloon over the mouth of the bottle so that there was no air escaping.  We then placed it in a sunny window to keep the solution warm.
Within a few minutes, our balloon started to fill with gas!  How neat!
(She loved this activity!)
On Day 2 of this lesson, we continued reading in our text, about photosynthesis, chlorophyll, and more.  We then read more about photosynthesis in our Usborne Science with Plants book (pages 8-9).
Next, we watched the "Gets Planted" episode of The Magic School Bus, about photosynthesis.  (These are Maggie's favorite science videos to watch!)  That episode can be seen at (below).
After that, we continued reading in our text about proper experimentation, transpiration (she loved this concept), and deciduous plants. 

Meanwhile, we were recording all that we were learning in our notebooking journal.  (I really urge you to make the investment to purchase and use these journals.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much confidence these give Maggie when she looks back on her work.  They are not for "busy work."  For us, they give Mags an opportunity to show what she knows and they serve as scrapbooks of our science journey together.  We have saved and cherished every one!)
It was time for another experiment!  We set out to complete the "Testing Transpiration" project found on page 96 of the text.  To start, we picked a strong, healthy leaf on our tomato plant to test.  Then, using a Ziploc bag, we "locked" it inside the bag so that it could still get light, but any gases or moisture it might emit would be trapped inside.
We wished it well and let nature do its thing!
On the morning after, our bag was FILLED with water droplets!  That leaf transpired A LOT!  Maggie was amazed!
(It's hard to tell from the picture, but there was quite a bit of water in her bag once she removed it from the leaf and the water droplets pooled together.)
She recorded it all in her notebooking journal (pages 98-99).
Day 3 of our lesson started with some more learning from our text, about the anatomy of a leaf, simple versus compound leaves, leaf arrangement, venation, and all the many leaf shapes and margins.  There was a lot of vocabulary in these few pages (96-102), but we were amazed at all the variety!  God is such a creative Designer!

We continued adding the new information to our journal.
Before we started this curriculum, I had bought some leaf rubbing plates from Oriental Trading Company
(  This was a great time to put them to use!
First, Maggie would rub the different leaf shapes onto paper using her crayons.
Then, we would identify whether each was simple or compound before identifying each one's shape and margin.  We wrote our answers right onto the paper next to the rubbings.
We stapled them all together and added them to our notebooking journal.
We dug a little deeper into the anatomy of leaves with our Seeds & Plants book (page 24), learning about leaf defenses (like coatings of wax and stiff hairs).  We also pulled out our Plant Adaptations cards again and read about the leaves of succulents, poison ivy, and plants with furry leaves.
In our Usborne Starting Point Science (Volume 1), we read about the strongest leaf, the leaf of the victoria amazonica water lily, which can hold the weight of a small child (page 45).
We then decided to put together our "Damian Dragon" (Black Dragon Coleus) plant kit (purchased at Hobby Lobby), also with strange leaves.
Once grown, our plant should look like this, with fiery red and deep black coloration on its leaves, pigments used to shield its leaves from the sun.  Fascinating!
Just like the seeds of our Venus flytrap, these seeds are so incredibly small!
Now in a sunny window, we're hoping they will sprout and grow!
It was time for some leaf collecting, an activity that would satisfy the "Leaf Classification" activity in our text (page 103).  Maggie had her Ziploc bags ready!  Check out those compound leaves behind her!
Look at the parallel venation on these leaves!
She was quite proud of this find!
While out collecting, we spotted this sweet, little butterfly.  (Zoology 1 is still so dear to our hearts.)
We thought the venation in this leaf was just gorgeous, as well as its leathery coating.
My favorite girl.  💗
It wasn't long before our bags were filled with many, different leaves in all different shapes!
We laughed when we noticed how they were transpiring in the bags, right before our eyes!
Once back home, we marveled at all of our finds!
And then we got right to work classifying them!
At first, we were bagging our leaves and stapling them into our journal, but the pages were getting thick and hard to write on.  So, we changed gears and took good photographs of each instead.  We printed and placed the photo of each leaf into one of the boxes on the classification pages and we were very happy with the result.  (The following four photos show our notebooking pages of all of our finds.)
While we had this great pile of leaves, we thought we'd make use of them!  We decided to do the "Leaf Chromatography" activity out of this National Geographic Kids' Try This! Green & Gross experiments book, pages 11-12.  (I purchased this (and others like it) at Dollar Tree for only $1!)
For this experiment, we needed some leaves, four small glasses, rubbing alcohol, a couple of white coffee filters, four pencils, a coin, scissors, and tape.
First, we cut our coffee filters into four strips, about six inches long and one inch-wide each.  We then cut each strip to a point on one end, like you see below.  Next, after picking out four leaves to experiment with, we used our coin to rub over each leaf onto one of the four different coffee filter strips. This pressed some of the leaf's colored "juice" onto the coffee filter.
Here were our four strips after rubbing each leaf.
The next step included taping the wide end of each strip onto the center of a pencil and rolling the paper so that the pointed end stuck downwards when placed over a glass.  We filled the glasses with about half an inch (each) of the rubbing alcohol and made sure just the tip of our paper strips were touching the liquid.  (This is where using a pencil helps because the flat edges keep your setup from rolling.)
Within 15 minutes, it was working!  The different pigments of the leaves were separating!  This was too neat.
We still had plenty of leaves left, so at the suggestion of The Usborne Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do (pages 34-35), we made leaf prints!
She was hoping to see the venation better through her prints, but she tried!
We stuck her prints painting in her notebooking journal.
There was one last thing we decided to do with our many leaves, and that was to investigate them a little more closely using a magnifying glass and light.  Using our Time for Kids: Super Science Book (page 89), we completed the "What Do Cells Look Like?" activity.
When she held the large leaves up to the window's light, and looked at it through the magnifying glass, she was able to spot even smaller structures there than even the smallest veins.
It was time to pull out our microscope!  We looked at some of our leaves, but we also looked at a few prepared slides.  It is amazing to see the detail that God used in His Creation!
Yet another item that I had purchased and had been waiting to pull out for just such a lesson was this 4D Plant Cell.  (I bought this on Amazon.)  Maggie couldn't wait to get her hands on it.
As we put together the structures, we used the accompanying booklet to talk about each one.  This was advanced for her, but we will revisit them when she takes Biology in ninth grade.  In other words, we will be putting this awesome cell model to good use!
 She was so proud of her completed plant cell!  Great job, Mags!
 To wrap up our lesson on leaves, we finished out notebooking work, including a quick story she wrote on the life of a leaf ...
 ... a "Lift the Flap" vocabulary review ...
... and a "Leaves Minibook," filled with facts she wrote about leaves.
These books that Jeannie Fulbright (the author) put together are always so fun!  This one even has its own little pocket for safe keeping in the journal.  Love it!
Our next lesson (Lesson 7) is on "Roots."  Check back with us!


  1. Love it! It is such a blessing that you take the time to share all the things you use to supplement these lessons. It will be such a time saver for me when I start apologia ! I love that you include the videos you watched, this will be a graet way to include my younger one. My kids love sid the science kid and the magic school bus
    Since Maggie likes shows like this too, I wanted to tell you about a show my kids like on PBS called Ready Jet Go! This might be a good supplement for Astronomy.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Elizabeth! I will definitely check it out! And I'm glad these posts are helpful for you. The only bad thing about posting the videos is that, sometimes, YouTube videos disappear. So, if you ever see a post with a YouTube video that is no longer working, I apologize. I promise when I wrote the post, said video did exist! Haha! Have a wonderful holiday weekend!