Take It Home
Make sure your students know the importance of trees before you send your classroom knowledge of trees back home. Do your students have any trees in their yards? Do they have a favorite one they climb at the park or at a friend's or family member's house? What are some of their favorite memories of playing in trees?
Trees may look strong, but some species have weak branches. Kids should be warned that not every branch can hold their weight. They should be careful about grabbing branches and swinging on them by first testing the sturdiness or having an adult test for strength.
Have students try to find the most exceptional trees in their community by giving them basic guidelines to gauge the trees, such as:
Students should use the same set of measurements and go out into the community with their parents to find the best of the best. They should write down their measurements and where the tree can be found. When they return to class, they can compare with the other students to find who has found the most truly tree-mendous trees!
Meet the Neighbors
Your students walk by trees in their neighborhood every day. Have them create a guidebook about their local trees in order to take a closer look and stop to check out their neighbors! Working with their parents, they should:
Take a stroll through their neighborhood with a field guide to try to identify all of the trees in their neighborhood.
Write down the name and present characteristics of each tree.
Take a photo or draw a picture of each specimen.
Take a picture or a sample of each tree's leaf, fruit, seed, and/or berries.
Share each student's guidebook in class. Which trees are common to all or most books? Do any of the students have unique trees in their books? Why might that be? Maybe people planted ornamental trees that aren't native to the area. Where do they originally come from?