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Tree Observation

Observation is a necessary skill for life and, therefore, an essential skill to teach young learners. In this activity, students will observe a tree, record their data, and make a prediction about future changes. This is a great way to introduce the scientific method and solidify concepts that take place during a particular season.

Objectives(s): 

  1. Student(s) will observe and record information that represent the changes that occur over time in a tree.
  2. Students will make predictions about their tree.
  3. Student(s) will answer questions about their observations.

Implementation:

For the first observation, introduce the students to the tree they will be observing. Encourage them to use their senses and draw their attention to the various parts of the tree. 

Touch: Feel the bark. It is smooth or rough? Hug the tree. How big around is the trunk? Touch the branches. Are there any low hanging ones?

Smell: Smell the tree. Does it smell of sap?

Hear: Listen to the tree. Can you hear the leaves/branches move in the wind?

For each subsequent observation, give the students a copy of the “My Tree Observation” worksheet to complete or have them put each observation as an entry in their science journals. After they observe and record their data, use the following questions to discuss their findings and to draw comparisons.

Questions:

  1. Is there anything different about my tree?
  2. How has it changed?
  3. Why has it changed?
  4. What do I think it will look like next time I observe?

Duration: You can choose how often you want the children to observe their tree. The weather in your area will obviously dictate this.

Assessment:

Students will be assessed according to their ability to:

  1. Observe a tree and record their data.
  2. Make 1-3 predictions about their tree.
  3. Answer 1-3 questions about what they have observed.

Apple Tree Through the Seasons

How do apples get on the apple tree? I can’t count how many preschoolers have asked me this over the years! This lesson teaches just that–the changes that occur in the apple tree through the four seasons. From bare branches in winter to crisp apples in the fall, preschoolers will learn how the apple tree gets its apples.

Objective(s):

  1. Students will complete a visual representation (Apple Tree Through the Seasons Worksheet) of the changes that occur in an apple tree through the four seasons.
  2. Explain (through verbal telling or acting out) the changes that occur in the apple tree through the four seasons.

Materials:

  • The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall (or any other book that demonstrates the changes of an apple tree)
  • copy of “Apple Tree Through the Seasons” worksheet
  • copy of “Apple Tree Through the Seasons Explained” worksheet
  • green paint (2 different shades-one light, one darker)
  • pink paint
  • red paint
  • pencils with new erasers (one per color of paint)
  • *crayons or markers could be used in place of paint (but the round circles the erasers make look like apples)

Direct Instruction:

Gather students in a group. Read The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall. As you read, ask questions to draw students’ attention to the differences in the apple tree through the seasons.

As a group, review the changes that take place in the apple tree by acting it out (winter–stand still with arms out and eyes closed to represent tree sleeping/dormant, spring–jump with eyes open wide and hands pop open to represent the tree springing to life, summer–stand with arms out and and hands making fists to represent small apples budding, fall–stand with arms out and hands making an “O” to represent large apples on the tree.

Guided Practice:

As a group or part of a science center, provide a copy of the “Apple Tree Through the Seasons” worksheet for each student. Review the changes that occur during each season. Then, allow students to work together, sharing paint supplies, to complete the worksheet. As students work, discuss why it is important to know these changes–how can they be compared to other living things?

*Students will dip the eraser into the paint and then onto the tree.

The tree should be painted as follows: winter–none, spring–green for leaves and pink for flowers, summer–green for leaves and lighter green for budding apples, fall–green for leaves and red for ripe apples

Independent Practice:

Have students complete the “Apple Tree Through the Seasons Explained” worksheet.

Closure:

As a group, have students share their worksheets and tell about the changes in the apple tree over the seasons. Can students think of other fruits that grow on trees?

Assessment:

Students will be assessed according to their ability to:

  1. Complete a visual representation (Apple Tree Through the Seasons Worksheet) of the changes that occur in an apple tree through the four seasons.
  2. Explain (through written or verbal telling or acting out) the changes that occur in the apple tree through the four seasons.

Possible Modifications/Adaptations:

For students who have difficulty remembering the sequence:

Fold paper into fourths. Have student focus on one season at a time.

Draw/color additional items in the square to represent that season and to prompt student to think about what changes take place in that particular season.

For students who have difficulty Allow student(s) to verbally tell or even act out the changes that occur.

Five Little Speckled Frogs Activities

“Five Little Speckled Frogs, sat on a great big log”…such a catchy little tune and a fun way to incorporate frogs and backwards counting into your curriculum. But the fun doesn’t stop with the song! Below you will find several follow-up activities for the Five Little Speckled Frogs Song. The activities range in skill level–from simple coloring pages, to cutting out finger puppets, to counting up to 20. A short description is provided for each, so you can find the one(s) that best suit your student’s needs.  read more…

Fall Word Study

The following activities and worksheets provide opportunities for students to engage in word study using nouns, verbs and adjectives that are related to the fall season. read more…

Winter Compound Word Sort

The following activity uses compound words that relate to wintertime. Simply print the winter compound word list on heavy paper, cut out each mitten and laminate. Students can then manipulate the cards to form winter compound words or take turns using them as part of a matching game. A recording sheet is also included for students to write down the wintertime compound words that they create. read more…

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt Follow-up Activities

A great way to introduce children to the wonders of the fall season…We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger is a story about three friends who go on a hiking adventure in search of leaves. Read the story aloud and then set out on your own outdoor adventure! Provide children with small paper bags so they can collect their own leaf samples. Samples can then be used to complete the following activities:

read more…

Fall Color Wheel

This activity is great for use as a learning center. It was designed to accompany the book We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger, so leaves first need to be collected. If you are short on time, provide a small paper bag for students to collect their leaves during recess. Once leaves are gathered, students will sort their leaves by color using the Fall Color Wheel. A Fall Color Wheel Graph and follow-up questions are provided for students to interpret their results. read more…

Autumn Leaf Banner

This Autumn Banner offers a fun activity that allows for creative expression and sensory exploration. Created as a follow-up activity to the book We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger,  students will first gather leaves to use for the banner. To further implement, simply lay out a long sheet of butcher paper, plates with various paints that represent fall colors, brushes and leaves gathered from your leaf hunt. Allow students, in small groups, to brush leaves with paint and then print them onto the paper. Don’t forget to provide smocks for each child to wear to protect their clothes! Display banner on a door, in a hallway or near your favorite window.

Autumn Is…Fall Activity

This fall activity is a creative and completely hands-on approach to teaching children about autumn. Use it as a whole group activity, as part of a learning center or as an assessment. Either way, students will enjoy the sensory activity and you will enjoy the many skills it incorporates–math (sorting), science (investigation) and literacy (labeling). Here are the details on how to implement it:

  1. Students will first collect items that they find in nature during the fall season. This can be done as a whole class or as a homework assignment. Items can also be gathered ahead of time for the students to sort through. Be sure that one long stick per student is gathered to create the stem for each leaf. During their nature walk, encourage students to engage their senses when gathering their items outdoors:
  • What did you hear? (wind howling, leaves being blown, leaves crunching beneath my feet, acorns falling from trees)
  • What did you see? (Leaves blowing, branches bending, acorns falling, squirrels gathering)
  • What did you feel? (wind blowing on face, dry leaves, rough/smooth sticks)
  • What did you smell? (firewood burning, grass being cut, leaves and dirt being blown)

2. A large leaf pattern will be traced and cut out of butcher paper (1 per student).

3. The title Autumn Is… will be written at the top of each large leaf.

4. Each student will sort nature items according to color/category (e.g. red leaves, brown leaves, acorns, wheat, etc.).

5. Groups of items will be glued onto the large paper leaf.

6. Items are labeled.

Possible Modifications/Adaptations:

For students that may have difficulty with sorting and/or labeling, here are two options:

  1. Have large leaves already labeled. Students can then choose items out of labeled bins to glue accurately onto the leaf.
  2. Have items already sorted in labeled bins. Students will choose items, glue them and then label using the already created label as a guide.

Hands-on Sensory Autumn Activity

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