This series of activities can be done year round. Students are divided into four groups. Time frame for this series is approximately 2 1/2 hours.
Conceptual Framework: Observation, Plant growth, Plant structure and function
- Docent will assemble students in a circle and let each student draw out a slip of paper with a part of a tree on it.
- Tell students they are going to portray the parts of a tree.
- Have the heartwood come to the center of the circle, and have him make the sound of a heartbeat.
- Have sapwoods join hands in a circle around the heartwood. Have them make slurping sounds.
- Have the roots lie down and extend from the tree and spread out their arms and make sucking noises.
- Have the leaves join the group and pretend to cook to illustrate making food.
- Have the phloem join hands in a circle around the tree. Have them reach and squat mimicking bringing food to the tree.
- Have cambium form between phloem and sapwood, swaying from side to side.
- Have bark form around the tree, facing outward.
- Ask students of the parts of the tree we imitated which ones are identifying characteristics. How can we tell one tree from the next?
- Pass out crayons and paper to each student and give them 5 minutes to draw a picture of a tree.
- Explain that today we will take a more detailed look at trees and then draw another picture.
- Talk about tree shapes, leaf shapes and colors, bark, buds, & twig arrangement.
- Send students to choose a tree and closely examine it, noting the details discussed.
- Have them to make another drawing including these details.
- Compare the first and second drawings to see the difference.
- Docent will pass out identification sheets and clue sheets to each pair of students.
- Instruct students to look within certain boundaries for the trees on these sheets and write down the corresponding number by the name of the tree.
- Students will take 15 minutes to analyze the trees and try to identify them.
- Group will gather together and go to the trees one by one and talk about what each is and what the key characteristics are for that tree.
- Docent will have students tell what parts of a tree can be used in identifying it.
- Divide students into groups of 2 or3.
- Give each group a tree cookie.
- Have students guess what type of tree it was and how old it was when the tree cookie was cut by looking at the bark and growth rings.
- See if there is anything else that can be determined like fire, drought, or injury.
- Have them draw a picture of their cookie and label cambium, phloem, xylem, heartwood, and outer bark.