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Unit Plan on Trees
Has anyone done a unit plan on trees or know of useful resources for planning lesson plans on trees? I am a graduate student pursuing my MAT working on a unit plan on trees targeted towards 2nd graders. My goal is for the unit to be hands on and interesting as well as informative. I have looked at the NSTA picture book lesson and I have this idea for the kids to look at tree rings as well as take a tree walk, but I am wondering if there are any other interesting ideas out there?
Thanks in advance for your ideas.
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In my class now we are doing tree observations. While on your tree walk you can have the students pick one tree they want to observe. They can visit that tree a few times a week and see what kind of changes the tree is going through such as the color of the leaves. They can bring a journal and draw a picture of what they see each day and record the weather outside. This can take course for a couple months so that they can notice a significant change in the tree.
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teacherspayteachers.com is a wonderful site where you can find tons of resources! :)
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I would most likely have students to take a look at every tree by the playground and assigned them in groups. Then have them pick one of the tree to observe. They can explain what they look like and write them down. Afterward, they draw a picture of the trees they observed.
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In my placement there is a tree outside of the window that they call their class tree. They go out and observe the tree 4 times a year and discuss how it has changes and what as made it change. They also draw a model of the tree each time so that they can compare how the tree looks in the different seasons. I think this is a good way to revisit previous lessons and ideas.
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You mentioned a tree walk. While on the tree walk,you could have students bring tape measures and have the students measure the circumference. The students could illustrate the tree and you could introduce scientific drawings by having them label the drawing. If you did this in the schoolyard the students could adopt the tree and observe and illustrate the tree seasonally. Gather tree books,have the students identify their adopted tree. Students could make a tree guide to the school grounds.
Hope some of this is helpful
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A tree walk sounds like a great idea! While on the walk you can have students carry baggies and make collections of the different parts of trees (bark, leaves, branches, seeds/flowers/etc). You could discuss the physical properties of different parts of trees. Then you can have a fun little project where the students have poster paper and draw one of the trees they saw and then glue the different parts of the tree around it and write facts about it.
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I love your suggestion to how the students can collect different tree parts during their tree walk. That is such a creative and engaging idea. I will definitely write this suggestion down for myself for future references. Thanks!
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I absolutely love this idea! it is very detailed and hands-on. Definitely will keep this in mind as I see myself partaking in a tree unit in the near future. Thanks for sharing!
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The Natural Inquirer is a publication from the US forest service aimed at middle school - though perhaps adaptable http://www.naturalinquirer.org/
It is searchable
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Here is a link to the urban forest edition http://www.naturalinquirer.org/Urban-Forest-Edition-i-9.html
Children can keep a journal (draw diagrams, do tree rubbings, take photos) of the trees around school as the seasons change. Then use this to address the topic of seasons.
Also the following are websites about learning about trees.
These should help you.
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I think the tree walk would be interesting and fun! But you could also maybe make a scavenger hunt of it. Give a list of some parts of trees they need to find.
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Bingo is always fun for students. At the end of your unit, you could play Tree Leaf Bingo. You may have to adjust it to fit the kinds of trees in your area, but here is a link to to a Tree Leaf Bingo designed with the goal of learning to identify common tree leaves.
Hope this is fun!
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I learned new science units about trees. I might apply some of those during my Earth Day Event.
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You could do a make a tree of life. Have the students explore why tress are so important to living things. A great picture book to use is "The Great Kapok Tree" by Lynne Cherry.
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I once asked middle elementary students to do rubbings of bark of trees around the school--very different patterns on maples, oaks and ash, for example. Then I laminated the paper and asked my K (summer school) kids to go out and find a tree to match the bark. They found they could do it easily. Then the next day we looked for other things that lived in the bark (mostly bugs and moss.)
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You can incorporate recycling and taking care of the earth into a unit about trees. A discussion can be had about why trees are important and what role they play on our Earth. Here is a website that has a neat activity that can be done with newspaper (you're also recycling newspaper) Hope this helps!
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You could have students gather leaves from home and have them bring them into class. You can go over the different types of leaves and have students compare the leaves they each found and talk about the different types of trees they come from. Hopefully you can get a few students that bring in something like a pine cone or acorn and make for some real interesting discussion on the difference between those and leaves.
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One of our classes required us to create a unit lesson, and we chose to do it on trees.
For math, we focused on measuring trees. We measured a tree poster at the front of the class using index card. We used a scale (each index card = ___ ft.) and had students convert.
For science, we discussed the life cycle of a tree. For social studies, we discussed the importance of trees. We also had students write a letter to representatives in order to convince them to conserve our trees. Students had to give reasons for the importance of trees.
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An interesting activity to do for trees might be to have the students make booklets on the life cycles of trees from seed to adult. Or perhaps make a booklet on what different types of trees are used for.
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Here's a link to a homeschool site's unit on trees. I really like it because of the list of books aligned with the theme.
All the best,
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This is such an interesting topic and has many ideas on what to do!
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You can use something like a collection of tree things to make a tree on construction paper. You can have students collect tree leaves etc. and when in the classroom they can build their tree with the real parts. They can then share their tree with their groups and they will have a blast teaching them their tree.
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Trees are very engaging for students. Maybe on your tree walk you can have them do bark rubbings and/or leaf rubbings to make their own mini field guide.
I have had my students draw their life in tree rings, "If I were a tree", using a big sheet of paper, have students draw out the number of rings they would have if they were a tree. Then they label significant evets in their lives on the appropriate ring, i.e. learned to ride my bike, or baby sister was born. You can use this as a tie in to the idea that a tree's rings tell it's life story (thin rings during a drought, scarring, etc.)
Here is a fun activity where students are the different parts of the tree from Project Learning Tree- the Tree Factory: https://www.plt.org//prek-8-activity-63---tree-factory
You might also participate in Project BudBurst's "Budburst Buddies" program. I've done it for several years with my second graders. Information for educators here: http://budburst.org/education_k-4 and the program's website here: http://budburstbuddies.org/
I've also included some info about the Budburst buddies program in my blog post: "PenguinWatch and other ways YOU can be a scientist" http://www.shareitscience.com/2014/10/penguinwatch-and-other-ways-you-can-be.html
Have fun observing trees!
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teacherspayteachers.com is a great site for teachers that has so many great resources! There are some free ones as well so it's really great.
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You could also merge this lesson with a English language arts lesson and use the book "The Giving Tree" as a hook/engagement. It is a great way to get the students thinking about trees and is a great book!
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I love the tree walk idea that people are suggesting! I know some NSTA Learning Center resources that may help in the tree walk. These articles include: Teaching Through Trade Books: Talking Trees. It specifies children's trade books that help students understand the general idea of trees such as important parts of trees! It also discusses the science process skills of classification, observations, and measurement as well! There is another article called, "Discussing Trees: Not Just a Walk in the Park". Moreover, for the tree walk, students can bring in journal and record observations that they see during this walk. I also love the idea of bringing tree measures and having students measure the circumference someone else mentioned in this post. That is a great way to link math into the science inquiry. You can also do a compare and contrast of two different trees in regards to the measurement, size, type of tree, and more! You can create a compare and contrast venn diagram template on google drawing and have students fill in information comparing two different trees in relation to their circumference, color, type of tree, and more!
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Hopefully you can use one of these ideas for your tree unit!
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Trees are such an awesome thing to study because it is something that the students see everyday. One thing that I remember doing in elementary is going back to the park and collecting leaves from as many different trees that we could find. We then brought the leaves back to the classroom and compared the leaves to each other. We then did research on our favorite leaf and found the type of tree it came from. We then began studying that tree specifically in a group with other students who chose the same tree. We researched the type of tree it was, when it should be planted, its size, where it can grow, and many other characteristics. This was an awesome unit and I can still remember the type of tree I did and some pretty interesting facts about that tree!
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Alexis' memory of her elementary science lesson about trees is powerful many years later. This shows how important science experiences are in learning. Simply reading about trees or observing one tree would not have made such an impression although both are effective components of an ongoing tree study.
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