Science Lesson Starters KS1 – Looking at Leaves

bowl of leaves for children activities.

Science Lesson Starters for KS1- Make like a Tree… and Leave!

These are 5 Science Lesson Starters for KS1 (children approximately 5-7 years old) focused on plants and leaves. As children love picking up and playing with leaves, by the time they start learning about leaves and plants in school, hopefully they will have some of their own ideas. Using a science starter when you begin your lesson or are starting out your topic can help you see what children already know, what they may not yet know or understand and any misconceptions that they may have. These science lesson starters for KS1 are also a fun way to start a lesson and get children talking. They will provide you with a clearer picture of what needs to be taught and can also be a tool to evaluate children’s learning and progress.

See my Autumn Leaf Activities for Children post for other activities with leaves.

Odd One Out- Science Lesson Starter KS1

This is a great way to introduce a new topic as this starter gets children talking about and discussing their ideas. They are given a visual prompt, so that even if the topic is new, they will be able to begin to make some comparisons. For this science lesson starter you need 3 or 4 pictures of objects (or real objects) that have some similarities and some differences. Then the children will be able to discuss and explain why they think a certain object is the odd one out. This gives them a great opportunity to classify and to justify their reasoning.

Big Question- Science Discussion Starter

When you start a new science topic you may want to have a ‘big question’ (a question that children can explore over weeks and months). You can introduce the question at the start of the topic and then continue to discuss and go back to it as you continue to teach the topic. The type of question you ask will depend on your focus, such as seasons, plants or both. For example:

  • Where do the leaves go in the winter?
  • Do leaves only grow on trees?
  • Do all plants lose their leaves in the winter?

Science Concept Cartoon- Science Lesson Starter KS1

This science starter will reveal the different ideas that children may have about a topic. Concept cartoons include ‘correct’ information as well as common misconceptions. The children can look at concept cartoons and then discuss all the different ideas that they have giving you insight into their knowledge, understanding and misconceptions. Children will also help their peers by explaining why some misconceptions may be incorrect. This can help them learn from one another and also provide practice in justifying their ideas. See the STEM website for further concept cartoons.

Science Lesson Starters ks1.  science concept cartoon for KS1.

I Spy with My Little Eye- Science Lesson Starter KS1

Show the children different images of leaves/plants/trees. Point out the different features of each image, one at a time, and have them guess which one you are describing. This is a great warm up and a good way to have children think about the small and subtle differences between different plants.

Compare Objects

Bring in a selection of leaves for the children to look at. Have them take a quick look at them in small groups and then discuss things about the leaves that are all the same (all have in common) and anything that is different. This can lead on to an activity of sorting and classifying such as using venn diagrams.

Topic Web

This is a great lesson starter to do at the beginning of a topic and also to use at the end. That way you will see what the children have learned over the entire topic. They can then write a web with all the things they know about a particular topic, such as plants.

Please see my post on Autumn Activities for further activities focusing on leaves and the Autumn Season.

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