Seasonal Changes of a Tree
The students will observe/adopt a tree in the school yard. They will observe the tree in late summer, fall, winter, and spring and draw in a teacher-made booklet their observations each season. They will observe and talk about the parts of the tree and later discuss who uses the tree. Literature stories, an art project booklet, and poetry will also be included.
Context for Use
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity, Classroom Activity
Grade Level: Primary (K-2)
Description and Teaching Materials
-Read "Have You Seen Trees?" By Joanne Oppenheim, Scholastic Books 1967; illustrated by Jean and Mou-Sien Tseng, 1995.
-Have five or more different students draw a picture card from an envelope (ear, eye, hand, tongue or nose) Tell one thing in the book according to the card (ie. Ear card—"I can hear the "SNAP" of the winter branches.")
I. Observe/ Adopt a tree in the schoolyard - In late summer (before Sept. 21)
a. Ask "Do you think the tree will stay the same?"
b. Give out 8 page stapled booklets (four folded sheets) labeled with "Summer", "Fall", "Winter", "Spring". Title the booklet "Our Changing Tree, by __________"
c. Draw what you see on the "SUMMER" page
d. Close your eyes," Is the tree making any sound? "
e. Select several leaves to smell and touch and then press and later make a leaf rubbing with a crayon on the opposite page from "Summer"
f. Optional activity would be to also make bark rubbings. Touch the bark. What does it feel like?
g. Optional: Make the summer page in a pre-printed tree booklet (from Mailbox Magazine) using green tissue paper cut in squared, put on the bottom of a pencil and put on with glue to make the leaves.)
II. What are the parts of a tree?
a. Why bark? (for protections)
b. What is underground? (roots for drawing food and water)
c. Why do trees have leaves (through a special process of "photosynthesis", the leaves make food from sunlight.)
d. Read selected sections form "Tell Me, Tree, All About Trees for Kids" by Gail Gibbons, Scholastic 2002
III. Who Uses a Tree?
a. Read "Once There Was a Tree" by Natalia Romanova, Dial Books 1985 ISBN 0 12 0.54677 4
b. Ask, Who did the tree belong to?
c. An optional activity would be to draw 8 pictures for an 8 page little booklet titled "Whose Tree Is It?" illustrating each of the 8 insects or animals who used the tree (woodsman, beetle, maggots, ants, bird, frog, earwig and man)
IV. Fall Observation
a. Draw what you see on the booklet page marked ''FALL"
b. What color are the leaves now? Why? (Talk about how they are getting less light and the green color is not being made as much)
c. Do you see any signs of anything else using the tree?
d. Read "Fall Leaves" by _____________
e. (Optional) Make a Fall page in the booklet (Mailbox) with torn colored paper of red, orange, yellow and brown.
V. Winter Observation
a. Draw what you see on the booklet page marked "WINTER"
b. Ask , "Where are the leaves"
c. "Is the tree dead?" "How do we know?"
d. "Is anything using the tree now?"
e. Optional: Make the winter page in the booklet (Mailbox) using small amounts of spread out cotton for snow and add a little silver glitter
VI. Spring Observation
a. Draw that you see on the booklet page marked "SPRING"
b. Ask, "Do you see anything on the branches?"
c. Cut a budding branch and put it in water in the classroom by a window
d. Optional: Make the spring page in the booklet (Mailbox) using a Q-tip to dip in green tempera paint and either pink paint for buds, or a lighter green depending on your tree.
-Make a Front cover for your outdoor observation book. Include the tree parts (roots, bark and leaves)
-Read "Be a Friend to Trees" by Patricia Lauber, Scholastic Books 1994
-Walk around a two block radius of your school. Count all the trees you see! Are there animals or insects using them?
-Revisit the KWL chart What did we learn?
-Optional: Make a short class poem about your tree. Make a copy for the last page of their "Our Changing Tree" Booklet.
Teaching Notes and Tips
So that the tree observation will go smoothly, I would have the students dress appropriately and carry a clip board and pencil/ and or/ crayons with the booklet already clipped on the appropriate page. In order for all to see, have an inner circle of children sit around the tree and another circle sit behind them or stand.
Standard The student will understand that people have five senses that can be used to learn about the environment.
Benchmark l. The student will observe and describe the environment using the five senses.