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

Activity One: Tree Factory
Activity Two: The Closer You Look
Activity Three: Name That Tree
Activity Four: Tree Cookies

Tree Factory

  1. 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.
  2. Tell students they are going to portray the parts of a tree.
  3. Have the heartwood come to the center of the circle, and have him make the sound of a heartbeat.
  4. Have sapwoods join hands in a circle around the heartwood. Have them make slurping sounds.
  5. Have the roots lie down and extend from the tree and spread out their arms and make sucking noises.
  6. Have the leaves join the group and pretend to cook to illustrate making food.
  7. Have the phloem join hands in a circle around the tree. Have them reach and squat mimicking bringing food to the tree.
  8. Have cambium form between phloem and sapwood, swaying from side to side.
  9. Have bark form around the tree, facing outward.
  10. Ask students of the parts of the tree we imitated which ones are identifying characteristics. How can we tell one tree from the next?

The Closer You Look

  1. Pass out crayons and paper to each student and give them 5 minutes to draw a picture of a tree.
  2. Explain that today we will take a more detailed look at trees and then draw another picture.
  3. Talk about tree shapes, leaf shapes and colors, bark, buds, & twig arrangement.
  4. Send students to choose a tree and closely examine it, noting the details discussed.
  5. Have them to make another drawing including these details.
  6. Compare the first and second drawings to see the difference.

Name That Tree

  1. Docent will pass out identification sheets and clue sheets to each pair of students.
  2. 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.
  3. Students will take 15 minutes to analyze the trees and try to identify them.
  4. 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.
  5. Docent will have students tell what parts of a tree can be used in identifying it.

Tree Cookies

  1. Divide students into groups of 2 or3.
  2. Give each group a tree cookie.
  3. 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.
  4. See if there is anything else that can be determined like fire, drought, or injury.
  5. Have them draw a picture of their cookie and label cambium, phloem, xylem, heartwood, and outer bark.