Trees in Winter – Background

Mysteries abound in the winter woods. Besides animal tracks in the snow, we might find nipped-off twigs, gnawed branches, debarked trunks – signs made by animals feeding on trees in winter. To figure out which animal has been doing the eating, we often need to identify the tree species. But, without their leaves at this time of year, trees can be mysteries to us as well. Animals that feed on woody plants have no trouble recognizing which twigs, buds and bark make the best meals, but for us, identifying trees in winter requires a close-up look and attention to detail, the skills of a good detective.

At the tips of branches, twigs provide many clues to a tree’s identity. Take a closer look at a twig in winter, and you will see that it has buds along the sides and at its tip. These are an important part of a tree’s annual growth cycle because they contain the beginnings of leaves, flowers and shoots for the coming growing Continue reading Trees in Winter – Background

Trees in Winter – Activities

FOCUS: Winter trees may look dead, but concealed in their buds are the beginnings of next year’s shoots, leaves and flowers. Food is scarce in our winter woods, and for many animals the twigs, buds and bark of dormant trees provide a welcome source of nutrition. Animals have no trouble recognizing which trees make the best meals, but for us, identifying trees when their leaves are gone requires a close-up look and attention to detail, the skills of a good detective.

Introduction: Pass out a twig to each child and do Twig Questions as an introduction.

TWIG QUESTIONS

Objective: To make observations and ask questions about twigs. Continue reading Trees in Winter – Activities

Trees in Winter – Puppet Show

A Budding Detective

Characters: Harry hare, Hawthorn Twig, Sumac Twig, Basswood Twig, Cherry Twig, Sugar Maple Twig.

Harry Hare  I am a hungry hare! Now, what should I have for supper? Twigs and buds? A little bark? I’ve eaten all the evergreen twigs I can reach, but it’s hard to tell these bare twigs apart without their leaves. This is going to take some good detective work!

Hawthorn  Haw, haw, haw! You don’t need to be a detective to tell a hawthorn twig. You could find me with your eyes closed!   Continue reading Trees in Winter – Puppet Show

Trees in Winter – Standards

TREES IN WINTER ALIGNMENT WITH
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE 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 Trees in Winter – Standards