Children will develop their observation skills by applying their senses to the study of life in and around a single tree.
What You Need
- small notebooks or pads of paper
- pencils and crayons
- tape measures
- magnifying glasses
- construction paper
- yarn or ribbon
- Take a Closer Look (PDF file print and copy)
What to Do
- Explain to children that they are going to adopt a tree. To do so, they will learn all they can about the tree and record what they learn in a journal.
- With the class, take a walk to select a nearby tree. The tree you choose should look healthy and stand out somewhat from other trees for easy recognition. Have the children examine and measure the tree and make observations about it in a notebook.
- Distribute copies of Take a Closer Look and read it aloud with children.
- You can determine a period of time over which you wish the observations to take place. If enthusiasm is high, you may wish to extend the activity for more than one season so that children can note seasonal differences.
- To make a tree journal, fold the construction paper in half and tie the pages into book form with yarn or ribbon. After children write or illustrate their observations, have them sign their names and paste their work into the journal. Display the finished journal in the classroom science center.
- Have children collect different kinds of leaves, put them between sheets of waxed paper, and iron them. Each leaf can then be cut out and the edges trimmed with pinking shears for an attractive edge. Use the pressed leaves for window or wall decorations.
- Use tree products for counting activities. For example, have students count the number of needles in a cluster of pine needles, the number of leaves in a leaflet from an ash tree, and so forth.
- Have children make birthday or holiday cards, using tree motifs. They can trace and color leaves, use bark rubbings, or draw flowers and fruits from the adopted tree.