Trees: What a View

Pre-Visit Activity, All Grades

Adapted from Instructor, S. Markle, 1989 

Objective

Students will observe and discuss seasonal changes in the appearance of a tree. 

Materials

  • Tree(s) near classroom
  • Paper
  • Markers, crayons, other art supplies
  • Mats or large plastic bags if ground is snowy or wet

Procedure

1.  Lead the class to an area where there is a large tree and have them lie under the branches and look up to the sky.  Have them describe what they see in detail.

2.  After returning to class, have students illustrate what they remember of the view through the branches.

3.  Return to the same tree during another season.  What is different about the tree?  What is the same?  You can draw new pictures and compare the two. 

Extensions

1.  Compare the differences between a tree that loses its leaves (deciduous) and one that has needle-like leaves which stay on the tree all year (coniferous), by lying under or around an example of each tree and following the above procedure.

2.  Collect a few branches off of your deciduous tree and place them in a vase with water in your classroom to observe the buds opening.  Have the students check the buds daily or every other day and draw the buds as they open.  Discuss what comes out of the buds (leaves or flowers).  Older students might even like to collect twigs off a tree in their backyard, bring them to school, place them in water, and compare the different shapes and sizes of buds from different trees and compare what comes out as the buds open.  Initially, you will probably not observe any changes in your buds.  Allow a couple of weeks to observe a change.  You might also want to change the water periodically.  Branches cut on a slant are better able to absorb water and remain alive.

3.  Bring examples of art that depict trees.  Try and find examples of folk, modern, Impressionism, etc.  How do these trees differ from your tree on the school grounds?