Last updated: April 14, 2015
Pathways to Discovery – Getting to Know a Tree
- Grade Level:
- Fifth Grade
- Biology: Plants, Botany
- 10 minutes
- National/State Standards:
- Alaska State Standards
Science: A12, 14, 15; B1, 2, 3; D1, 2;
- observation, cooperation, sensory awareness, problem solving
OverviewUse America's largest national park as a pathway to discovery!
This lesson helps to familiarize students with the structure, function and importance of trees, and to develop identification skills.
Objective(s)Students will examine trees closely; they will “build” a tree to learn parts and functions. They will use a key to identify trees, play an active game to learn about growth.
BackgroundThis Unit is designed to be a follow-up to the fifth grade Silver Burdett Ginn Science Discovery Works textbook, Unit A, “Plants”. It can be used at any grade level or at any time.
Start the introduction when you reach the beginning of the trail you are using for this lesson.
- Sit down in a circle before going into the woods.
- Explain to the students that during this lesson as they are walking along the trail, they will be asked to be very observant, to think, and to really let their imaginations go wild sometimes.
- Ask the students for some ideas about why trees are important. How do we use trees?
- Ask students if they have ever experienced a situation where they have been at a place where they didn’t know anyone (i.e. moved to a new area, new class, etc.) How did they feel?
- Explain that for most people, walking into the forest is like entering a crowd of unknown people. During this lesson the students will be introduced to some of the members of this interesting community. Explain that just as people have characteristics that help us recognize individuals in a crowd, so do trees.
- Ask them for examples of characteristics trees have that could help us identify them.
- As they mention specific qualities, hold up the card that has that characteristic and read the description on the back concerning that attribute. • Go over the characteristics that they fail to mention
The following Characteristic Cards should be included: bark, leaves, shape & size, flowers & fruits or seeds, roots, location, twigs, conifer or deciduous
AssessmentTell the students that as they begin to walk into the forest they should keep these characteristics in mind and begin to notice how the trees are different.
Additional ResourcesThis lesson is part of our "Pathways to Discovery" unit. The individual lessons can be done individually or as a larger unit of learning. They encourage the development of a student’s awareness and appreciation of the natural world and people’s relationship and role as a part of that natural world.
The lessons are a series of shorter activities that have been blended together under a specific theme with the intent that the activities will be coordinated with units in the existing school curriculum and texts. The materials are organized by grade level, but can actually be adapted for use at any grade level.