Our Treasured Trees
- Grade Level:
- Fourth Grade-Sixth Grade
- Agriculture, Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Botany, Climate Change, Conservation, Earth Science, Ecology, Environment, Wildlife Biology
- 45 minutes
- Group Size:
- Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
- National/State Standards:
- Standard 7: Students examine organisms’ structures and functions for life processes, including growth and reproduction. (ASDOE Elementary Science Standards: Grade 2-4, pp. 28-42)
OverviewTrees are wonderful, beautiful organisms which comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, smells, and textures. Tropical rainforest contain the greatest diversity of plants in the world, meaning many species of plants grow in a small area. New terms would be introduced, “natural resources” and “renewable resources” Students will view images from slide presentation to help simplify the differences between the two new terms introduced.
Students will be able to:
1. Define the terms natural resources and renewable resources.
2. List consequences that can hurt the environment by the cutting down of trees.
Trees have inhabited our planet Earth for thousands of years. Without the existence of trees, life cannot continue as it is today. These natural resources provide us with food, shelter, medicines, oxygen, etc. These are things useful to humans. Renewable resources on the other hand are resources that will replenish themselves if not used up completely or too quickly. With population explosion in our small Island, these treasured resources may disappear fast. During traditional cultivation practices, land is cleared for plantations of taro, ta’amu, bananas and other agriculture crops. Also, developing new land for building new homes or other structures, usually requires clearing the land. The practice of clearing land, although considered a Samoan tradition, can be very harmful if it is done in a careless manner. Soil can erode rapidly, and the forest will not regenerate quickly enough.
There is a great need to preserve our existing trees that grow naturally on our land. Scientists have shown that even a single tree in an agriculture field can attract wildlife if it produces fruits or flowers attractive to animals. By attracting wildlife to those protected trees, new seeds from the forest will also be brought in, thereby assisting natural forest to regeneration after agriculture has finished. You can help preserve trees by not cutting them down. If you do cut one native tree, you should plant another native tree to replace it.
3. White board
6. Power point presentation
Introduce Inquiry Question:
Why are trees important to us?
While showing a slide presentation about trees,
Ask: Why are trees important to us? Introduce new vocabulary words natural resources and renewable resources. Have you ever herd of these terms before? If yes, ask them to give some examples. Natural resources are things in nature that are useful to people. Renewable resources are resources that will replenish themselves if not used up completely or too quickly. Use images from power point presentation to illustrate these new terms. Trees are renewable resources that need our special attention. Discuss how we use trees to meet our basic needs. List on the board how trees are useful (homes, medicines, fruits, buildings, shade, oxygen, clothes, jobs, etc.). Why would we cut down trees? What are the consequences if we cut too many trees and do not replant them (erosion, animals lose their habitat, depletion of oxygen, etc.).
Activity 1: What the consequences are for cutting down trees
Imagine that you have just heard the following special announcement on the radio. Have a student read it out loud. “Attention all citizens of American Samoa: Beginning tomorrow, (date), the cutting down of trees will cease. Anyone found with an ax, saw, or other chopping device will be punished according to the law. Sincerely, Governor of American Samoa.”
*make sure students understand that the hypothetical announcement used in this activity is not real*
Divide the class into groups of three or four. Have them divide a piece of paper in half. They should label the right side “Good Consequences” and the left side “Bad Consequences.” Ask the students what would happen if we were really not allowed to cut any more trees. They should then work in their groups to list as many consequences as they can think of. When the students have had enough time to complete this task, make a class consequence list on the board.
End with a discussion by asking the following question: What can we do to help save our trees?
Conclusion with Inquiry Question
Why are trees important to us?
For every tree we cut down, we should plant a native tree in its place.