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A Tree for all Seasons

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Keywords: science, writing, technology, photography, trees, seasons
Subject(s): Technology, Photography, Science
Grade K
School: Armitage Academy, Kenosha, WI
Planned By: Tamera Steele
Original Author: Tamera Steele, Kenosha
1. At the beginning of the school year and prior to the technology lesson plan, students are asked to share what they know about trees. The teacher may prompt students to illicit certain responses in regard to shape, size, what trees need to grow, leaf attributes, and so on. After the class has shared their knowledge, the teacher may share a poster of a tree and label the tree areas: crown, trunk, leaves, branches, stems, root system. The teacher may also wish to touch upon the functions of the tree parts and the difference between deciduous and coniferous trees.
2. Students are taken out of doors and as a class, select a deciduous tree to examine. Each pupil examines the bark, branches, and leaves of the tree. The teacher may take notes of their observations (green leaves, rough bark, lots of leaves) and encourage the children to use tools such as hand lenses and rulers during the inspection process.
3. At the end of the end of the examination period, each student is allowed to take a photograph of the class tree. Some students may be encouraged to capture images of specific tree areas: the crown, trunk, leaves, branches, or root system. The teacher should also make sure to take a photograph of the tree in its entirety.
4. Back in the classroom, the teacher can upload the photographs into a slideshow program and include the student descriptions of their tree observations.
5. This process would be repeated 3 more times during the school year to record tree changes in the autumn, winter, and spring months.
6. Depending on the abilities of the students, they may also be involved in more hands-on aspects of the slideshow creation.
If a slideshow program is not available, students may use a word processing program instead to create a booklet that documents the seasonal changes.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Depending on the size of the tree, students may practice math skills by measuring and charting aspects of the tree each season, such as trunk girth, tree height, and branch spans.

For art class, students may bring a copy of their pictures to the art studio and recreate the tree using a variety of supplies such as craypas, watercolors, markers, or crayons.

To promote literacy and writing skills, class may create a story about how the tree feels each season as it changes. They can brainstorm what the tree would say to someone as it sits through autumn and watches its leaves fall or think about how the summer sun may feel on the tree’s leaves during a hot day.
Once all seasons are accounted for, students may compare and contrast the changes that have occurred with tree’s appearance.
Materials: Point and Shoot, CDs and DVDs, Slideshow