• Curecanti National Recreation Area

    Curecanti

    National Recreation Area Colorado

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Trees - Fall/Winter/Spring

National Park Service Mission

...to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area Outreach Education is committed to: Creating an awareness and fostering an appreciation for the mission of the National Park Service and the natural, cultural, and historic resources of Curecanti National Recreation Area and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

EDUCATION LESSON PLAN

Curriculum enhancing activities designed to complement national and state content standards across a variety of disciplines.

Title: Trees-Fall/Winter/Spring

Grade level:
Preschool

Time length:
30 minutes

Subject areas:
Science, mathematics, reading and writing

Teacher:
NPS Education Specialist

Colorado Content Standards:
Science: (3.1) Students know and understand the characteristics of living things, the diversity of life, and how living things interact with each other and with their environment. (3.2) Students know and understand interrelationships of matter and energy in living systems.

Mathematics: (1) Students develop number sense and use numbers and number relationships in problem solving situations and communicate the reasoning used in solving these problems.

Reading and writing: (1) Students read and understand a variety of materials.

Theme: Trees need sunlight, air, water and soil to grow.

NPS focus:
Public Law 39-535 (Organic Act),

Public Law 95-250 (Redwood National Park Expansion Act),

Vail Agenda Education Committee Report (Strategic Goal #2; Action Plan 16)and (Strategic Goal #3; Action Plan 52,62),

Curecanti and Black Canyon Themes: Natural Resources/Wildlife

Environmental concepts: The sun is the source of all energy (energy flow).

Environmental learning hierarchy: Art forms

Materials: A handful of orange or yellow leaves (fall); brown oak leaves on twig (winter); green leaves (spring); cottonwood, pine, spruce, and willow seeds; 36" x 48" felt board; laminated pictures of a small cottonwood tree and a large cottonwood tree, cottonwood seed, various colored leaves, numbers, soil, sun, rain, river, snow, air (and corresponding words); brown fabric (10' x 10'); blue ribbon (1/2" x 5'); seedling tree in peat pot.

I. INSTRUCTIONAL OUTCOMES

Knowledge level:
Students will be able to verbally identify the four things trees need to live.

Comprehension level: Students will be able to verbally give examples of how animals and people use trees.

II. ANTICIPATORY SET

Depending on the season the program is taught, do one of the following activities:

The Forest in the Fall

Blow a handful of leaves in the direction of the students. "What does this remind you of? During the season called fall, leaves change colors and fall off of the trees. Have any of you ever been to a forest in the fall? Did the leaves look like these leaves? I am going to tell you a story about visiting the forest in the fall/winter/spring. This story has special actions for you to do with me. Stand up and pretend to be trees. Your arms are the branches and your hands are the leaves. Are you ready?"

"Let's visit the forest in the fall"

"The cool wind blows and blows" (cup hands and blow, then shiver)

"The leaves shake and shake" (wiggle and shake hands)

"then fly into the sky so blue." (raise hands towards the sky)

"They whirl and whirl," (twirl one way)

"then twirl and twirl." (twirl the other way)

"And when the wind stops," (halt the movement of arms)

"the leaves sink slowly to the ground." (slowly bend lower)

"Lower, lower, lower they fall," (continue to bend lower)

"and they land without a sound." (sit on the floor)

"That was very good. Let's try it again. This time, try to repeat the words after me." Repeat the story.

The Forest in the Winter

Ask the children to shut their eyes, then shake a twig of oak leaves over their heads. "What does this remind you of? Open your eyes. During the season called winter the brown oak leaves remain on the bushes and they rattle when the wind blows. Do you remember hearing and seeing these leaves? I am going to tell you a story about visiting the forest in the winter. This story has special actions for you to do with me. Stand up and pretend to be trees. Your arms are the branches and your hands are the leaves. Are you ready?"

"Let's visit the forest in the winter."

"The cold wind howls and howls." (cup hands and blow, then shiver)

"The oak leaves shake and shake" (wiggle and shake hands)

"then greet the sky so blue." (raise hands towards the sky)

"They rattle and rattle," (shake fists like rattles)

"then clatter and clatter." (clap hands with clattering sound)

"And when the wind stops," (halt the movement of hands)

"the brown leaves quiet right down."(sit on the floor)

"That was very good. Let's try it again. This time, try to repeat the words after me." Repeat the story.

The Forest in the Spring

Wave a budding or leafing tree twig over the children's heads. "What does this remind you of? During the season called spring, buds begin to form at the end of the trees' branches. Soon bright green leaves start growing from the buds. Have any of you ever been to a forest in the spring? Did the ends of the tree branches look like these? I am going to tell you a story about visiting the forest in the spring. This story has special actions for you to do with me. Stand up and pretend to be trees. Your arms are the branches and your hands are the leaves. Are you ready?"

"Let's visit the forest in the spring."

"The warm breezes blow and blow." (cup hands and gently blow)

"The leaves flutter and flutter" (wiggle and shake hands)

"then wave to the sky so blue." (raise hands towards the sky)

"They whirl and whirl," (twirl one way)

"then twirl and twirl." (twirl the other way)

"And when the wind stops," (halt the movement of arms)

"the leaves rest in the warm sun." (sit on the floor)

"That was very good. Let's try it again. This time, try to repeat the words after me." Repeat the story.

III. TEACHING PROCEDURE/METHODOLOGY

Growing a Tree


"Now I am going to show you how a tree grows. A tree starts out as a seed." Show the cottonwood tree seed. "Do you think all seeds look like this? No. This is a seed from a cottonwood tree. Not all seeds look like this." Show pine, spruce, and willow seeds. "Some seeds are bigger and some are smaller. And seeds can be different colors. Have you ever planted a seed? What did you plant the seed in? The first thing a seed needs is soil. Soil gives the seed a place to start growing." Place the seed, the soil, and the word "soil" on the felt board. "But soil is not enough. Seeds need three more things before they can start growing. What else does a seed need?" Place the sun and the word "sun" on the felt board. "Seeds need sunlight to grow. So now the seed has soil and sunlight, but it is still not ready to grow. What else does the seed need?" Place the rain and the word "water" on the felt board. "Seeds need water. They can get water from rain. But there is another way seeds get water - snow." Place the snowflakes on the felt board. "When snow melts, it turns to water. Now the seed has soil, sunlight and water, but it needs one more thing before it can grow. That last thing is air. When we take a breath, we are breathing air. Seeds also need air." Place the picture representing air and the word "air" on the felt board. "This picture will remind us that seeds need air." Now our seed can start growing. It has soil, sunlight, water and air." Point to the pictures and words on the felt board while saying these four necessities.

"First, roots will sprout from the seed, and then a small tree will start to grow." Place the small cottonwood tree on the felt board. "After years and years, this small tree will grow into a big cottonwood tree." Place the big cottonwood tree on the felt board, pointing out the trunk and branches. "In the season called spring, when it begins to get warm outside, buds grow on the branches. Those buds turn into new green leaves. Can you count these green leaves with me?" Have students count the leaves as you place them on the felt board, putting up numbers as you go. "What color are these leaves? The leaves stay green in the spring and the summer. But during the season called fall, these green leaves become yellow, red or orange. Can you count these yellow leaves with me?" Have students count the leaves as you place them on the felt board, using the numbers again. "What color are these leaves? As it gets colder, the wind blows and blows, causing these leaves fall to the ground." Use the words for the different colors as colored leaves are put up on the felt board. Have students pretend to be a cool wind blowing as you place the yellow leaves on the ground. "During the winter, cottonwood trees don't have leaves on them. They rest through the winter until spring. Then when it begins to get warm again, new buds and leaves grow. Let's see if you remember what this seed needed to start growing." Have students name each of the four things as you point to them on the felt board.

IV. CHECK FOR STUDENT UNDERSTANDING

"Now I'd like you to close your eyes, while I take one of the items needed for a tree to grow off of the felt board. Then I'd like you to guess what is missing." Have students close their eyes, while you remove one of the four things a tree needs to grow. "Now you can open your eyes. Something is missing, and our cottonwood tree can't grow. Does anyone know what is missing?" After the missing item is identified, place the picture back on the felt board. "Now can the tree grow? Yes. It has soil, sunlight, water, and air. Now close your eyes again, while I take something else off of the felt board." Continue until each of the four items have been removed and identified.

V. GUIDED PRACTICE

Seed Role Play


"Let's pretend to be a seed growing into a cottonwood tree. Curl into a little ball on the floor like I am doing. We are pretending to be seeds. Drink in some water and take a big breath of air. Do you feel the warm sun shining on you? Now wiggle your toes. These are your roots growing down into the soil. Slowly start to stand up. Now you are growing into a tree. Drink in some more water, take another breath of air and feel the warm sunshine. Now your trunk is stretching towards the sun, and your branches are growing. Stand up and stretch out your arms. Buds are growing on your branches, and these buds turn into leaves. Shake your hands like leaves blowing in the wind. You make great trees!"

Build a Forest

"Now we are going to pretend to build a forest, right here in the classroom. What do trees need to grow?" Spread brown fabric on the floor. "This brown fabric on the floor is our soil." Have one student hold the laminated sun. "Trees need sunlight to grow, and they also need water." Have several students linked together with the blue ribbon pretend to be a river flowing through the forest. "Trees also need air." Have one child cup their hands around their mouth and make blowing noises. "Now we have soil, sunlight, water, and air for trees to grow." Have several students pretend to be trees by standing still with arms outstretched. "Sometimes when we visit the forest, we can see animals. What animals have you seen in the forest?" As animals are identified, have students pretend to be these animals. For example, several students might be squirrels climbing trees and putting seeds in their mouths. Several students might be birds flying in the forest and building nests on tree branches. (Shy or special needs children can use puppets to represent animals, but be sure to have all students engaged as part of the forest). Throughout this activity, continually review the parts of the forest. If time allows, have the students switch roles and repeat the activity. At the end of the activity, have all of the students pretend to be leaves falling to the ground, lower and lower until they land without a sound. When students are sitting, discuss what trees are used for. "How did the animals in our forest use the trees? So, do people need trees? How do people use trees?" Have the students identify items in the classroom that are made of wood. "Would it be a good idea to cut down all of the trees? No, we need to let some trees keep on growing, so they can make seeds. That way, more trees can start growing!"

VI. INDEPENDENT PRACTICE

Not appropriate.

VII. CLOSURE


Final check for student understanding: Randomly ask students to name the items a tree needs to grow. As students name these, place the appropriate laminated pictures and words on the felt board. After the four items have been identified, ask the students if a tree can now grow, and place the laminated tree on the felt board. Randomly ask students how people and animals use trees. Give the class a peat-pot filled with soil and a seed packet. As a class they can grow the tree, making sure it gets all it needs in order to grow. Point out that they can find everything they need in their classroom. Suggest that when it gets big enough, the class could plant the tree seedling outside somewhere, perhaps in the schoolyard or near the playground where they can watch its progress as it grows.

VIII. SELF-EVALUATION

Indicate what you judge to have been the strengths of the lesson, what changes you made during the lesson and what changes you would make if you were to teach the unit again.

IX. RELATED INTERNET SITES

Colorado State Forest Service

Did You Know?

Morrow Point Dam

Morrow Point Dam, found within the silent walls of the Black Canyon, was the first thin-arch, double curvature concrete dam built in the United States (completed in 1968).