Maple Sugaring – Background

The much-loved sugar maple tree provides food and shelter for wild animals, leafy shade in the summer, spectacular colors in the fall, firewood in winter and the finest syrup in early spring. Learning to know these trees better and to understand how they produce the sap for the syrup we love so well can only increase our appreciation of these delightful trees.

Maples are easy to identify if you take a closer look at their growth habit. They are one of the few trees in our forests with buds, twigs, and sometimes branches that grow directly opposite each other. This opposite arrangement occurs in only a few large trees. It’s easy to remember these with the phrase MAD HorseM for Maple, A for Ash, D for Dogwood (mostly shrubs in New England), and Horse for Continue reading Maple Sugaring – Background

Maple Sugaring – Activities

FOCUS:  The combination of warm days and cold nights in early spring reawakens maple trees and starts the sap flowing. This yearly event in the life cycle of a maple tree provides Sugarmakers with the sap needed to produce maple syrup. Even without leaves, sugar maples can be recognized by their bark, twigs and buds, so we know we are tapping the right trees.

Introduction: Ask the children what they’ve noticed about how a maple tree changes through the seasons.


Objective: To model how a maple tree changes through the seasons by acting out seasonal scenarios. Continue reading Maple Sugaring – Activities

Maple Sugaring – Puppet Show

The Sweetest Sap

Characters: Sammy Squirrel, Grandpa Squirrel, Fir Tree, Beech tree, Red Maple, Sugar Maple

Sammy Squirrel  Ya’ know, these acorns are filling, but I’m getting bored with them. All winter long, nothing but nuts and seeds.

Grandpa Squirrel  Well, Sammy, when I was a young’un, I didn’t sit around complainin’. Warm days in the spring, I’d run up a maple tree and drink the sweep sap. Fills ya’ full a’ energy, sap does. Puts a real frisk in yer tail.

Sammy  A sweet energy drink?  Gee, I gotta try that. See ya’, Gramps! (exits) Continue reading Maple Sugaring – Puppet Show

Maple Sugaring – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Maple Sugaring – Standards