Snags and Rotting Logs – Background

Perched on the bare limb of a standing snag, an owl calls to its mate. Nearby, a mouse scampers along a fallen log and a spider spins its web on a rotting stump. From standing snags to lying logs, dead wood is essential in a forest, though its importance is often overlooked. At each stage of decay, snags and logs are hubs of activity, providing food, shelter, perches, travel corridors, and many other functions in the forest ecosystem.

Some trees die suddenly, caught in fires, hurricanes, or struck by lightning, but most trees die in stages, succumbing gradually to disease, drought, old age, or a combination of factors. Continue reading Snags and Rotting Logs – Background

Snags and Rotting Logs – Activities

FOCUS: From standing snags to lying logs, dead wood is essential in a forest, though its importance is often overlooked. As wood decays, a succession of plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria come and go, each decomposing it further. At every stage, snags and rotting logs are hubs of activity, providing food, shelter, perches, travel corridors, and many other functions in the forest ecosystem.

INTRODUCTION
Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about snags and rotting logs.

Give small groups of children a rotting log to investigate with their senses. Ask children to touch the log with their eyes closed, to tap on the log, to smell it, and then to look at it. What do they notice?

Materials: rotting logs (one per small group); plastic tarp or newspaper for each log.

ROTTING LOG INVESTIGATION and JOURNAL ACTIVITY
Objective: To examine a rotting log, looking for evidence of living things – plants, animals and fungi – that live on or in it, and to record observations about them.

Log Portrait
Work in small groups of three or four children with an adult. Provide each group with a rotting log to examine. Continue reading Snags and Rotting Logs – Activities

Snags and Rotting Logs – Puppet Show

Cleaning House

Characters: Benjy Bear, Sappy Sapsucker, Sammy Squirrel, Carpenter Ant Queen, Sally Salamander.

Props: dead snag, rotting log, spray bottle, cotton balls, loop on back of stage to hold up props.

(Dead snag prop on stage.)

Benjy Bear  Gee, look at all these rotten snags and logs. As manager of this forest, I need to do a little house cleaning. Better get rid of some of the dead wood, like this old, rotten maple tree here.

Sappy Sapsucker  Wait just a minute, Benjy Bear! I need that tree! Continue reading Snags and Rotting Logs – Puppet Show

Snags and Rotting Logs – Standards

SNAGS AND ROTTING LOGS 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 Snags and Rotting Logs – Standards