Skip to main content
A close up of a young girl with a blue cap on sitting surrounding by greenery and drawing on a piece of paper

Lesson plan: How drawings could save your life

A lesson in which KS2 and KS3 pupils learn to observe and draw leaves, developing their artistic skills and exploring simple scientific ideas around human survival.

Activity details

We are often told to draw what we see, rather than just what we think we see. However, this lesson encourages pupils to draw what they want to show, rather than just what they see. To do this, pupils will have to really understand the object in front of them by closely observing it, before then trying to get this across in their leaf drawing.

The class then make comparisons of the leaf drawings to assess accuracy, and end with a game to see whether their drawings are useful in helping others to identify leaves.

Objectives and curriculum links

Pupils explore how to use drawings to share ideas accurately, and increase their proficiency in drawing to communicate technical information clearly. They develop knowledge and critical understanding of how art is used in the fields of science and technology.

This lesson enables students to… 

  • identify which leaf characteristics are important to show for the purposes of plant identification
  • develop observational skills and drawing techniques that help them to draw what they want to show 
  • make comparisons of leaf drawings and assess their accuracy
  • justify the importance of artistic techniques in science

We've designed the lesson to help teachers cover the following subject areas:

Subject areas


You need the following equipment to do this activity:

  • Paper
  • Drawing pencils (or you could experiment with materials such as black ink pen or water colour paint)
  • Leaves: if you don’t have access to outdoor space where pupils can pick their own leaves (without causing damage), you could pick leaves to bring into class yourself. Or you could even buy different types of salad leaves such as rocket, cabbage, kale, spinach etc. 
  • Rulers
  • Magnifying glasses (optional)


Lesson plan

This lesson can be adapted to run for one or two hours, so timings are approximate.

Lesson Plan

Extension activities

Encourage small group or class discussions about what made a drawing good or not so good. The children could also colour in their drawing using colouring pencils, whilst keeping their good observational skills.

About the botanical artist

We worked with botanical artist Laura Silburn to create this lesson plan, and produce the accompanying drawings. Laura works in Cornwall, where she is a Fellow of the Eden Project Florilegium Society and teaches botanical painting and drawing courses at the Eden Project. She paints both to record species and celebrate plants. Her work ranges from botanical documentation for archives and florilegia to artistic studies of plants exploring our relationship to them.

Experience Eden with your class