Tremendous Trees – Background

Towering above us, branches reaching to the sky, trees are a familiar feature of the landscape, whether a forested hillside, a busy city park, or our own backyard. In the summer, trees form a green canopy shading and cooling the ground below. In winter, they stand silently braced against the cold and snow. With some 100,000 different species worldwide, trees come in a variety of shapes and sizes and thrive in a wide range of habitats. But what makes a tree a tree?

By definition, trees are large, woody, perennial plants. From underground roots to leafy branches, each part plays an important role in the survival of the tree. Continue reading Tremendous Trees – Background

Tremendous Trees – Activities

FOCUS: Wood, leaves, bark, roots, flowers, and fruits: disassembled, these various parts don’t begin to convey the majesty of a mighty tree in full summer foliage. However, each part of the tree serves an important function that contributes to its survival. Roots reach into the soil for water and nutrients, wood provides strength for the trunk, branches hold the crown of leaves up to the sunlight. Like other living organisms, trees grow, reproduce, and die, but they are more to us than just tall woody plants: they are neighbors that grow and change with us through the years.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about trees.

Hold up a small cardboard box and tell the students that you’ve discovered a beautiful object that can turn sunlight into sugar, pump gallons of water a day, purify air, move and split rocks, change color with the season, and provide shelter and food to all sorts of animals. What do they think it is? Open the box and present the small sapling hidden inside.

Materials: cardboard box, small sapling.
Continue reading Tremendous Trees – Activities

Tremendous Trees – Puppet Show

Tree-mendous Trees

Characters: Maple Tree, Charlie Chipmunk, Sarah Sapsucker, Sammy Squirrel, Tiny Fir Tree

Maple Tree  (tapping noise) Who’s that nibbling on my toes?

Chipmunk  That was me, Maple Tree, chewing on these little roots down here.

Tree  Listen, Charlie Chipmunk, I need those roots. Look how big my trunk is, and all these branches. I couldn’t stand up without strong roots to anchor me.

Chipmunk  I’ll say they’re strong. They get into cracks in the rock, and start to grow thicker. Pretty soon the rock splits in two! Continue reading Tremendous Trees – Puppet Show

Tremendous Trees – 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 Tremendous Trees – Standards