Leaf Living

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In this outdoor fall activity, learners find out what living in or under a layer of leaves is like. Learners will discover that animals that live in leaf litter use different senses to find prey, avoid predators, and to navigate through the litter. Learners role play predator and prey—the "prey" hides in a large pile of leaves, and the "predator" tries to "strike" by reaching straight into the leaf pile to grab the "prey." Learners also consider what body adaptations help organisms that spend part of their life under the leaves.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Game, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • leaf rakes or large pieces of stiff cardboard
  • three-meter length of string
  • apple


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Touch
      • Smell
      • Vision
      • Hearing
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • hear
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Regents of the University of California, 1981