In this lesson, students will learn about the many different kinds of trees. When the lesson is complete, you'll have a beautiful paper tree to hang in your classroom. Change the leaves every so often to reinforce the lesson.
Students will learn about the growth cycle of a tree, and the various types of trees, by comparing the shapes and sizes of leaves.
Fiskars scissors; brown and green construction paper; various types of leaves
Maple and Birch Leaf Reproducible 1 (PDF)
SET UP AND PREPARE
1. Before the lesson begins, take 5 to 10 minutes to collect leaves with your class. Encourage them to choose leaves that are different shapes, colors, and sizes. Note: If your school is not located near trees, use the Leaf Reproducibles instead.
2. Once you’re back in the classroom, ask students to examine and sort their leaves. While they are busy, use a scroll of brown paper and cut out a large tree to hang on a wall in your classroom. Include roots, a trunk, branches, and any other details you’d like.
1. Teach students about the growth cycle of a tree. Label its various parts (trunk, roots, branches) and explain how the changing of the seasons affects the tree.
2. Pass around samples of the leaves you’ve collected, and have a discussion about how a tree’s leaves indicate what type of tree it is. Some questions to ask could be: What shapes do they come in? How many points do they have? Are some round and others not?
3. Briefly review common types of trees with students: Maple, Birch, Ginkgo, Elm
4. Ask students to trace each leaf on a piece of colorful construction paper, and then cut out the shapes.
5. Make a Maple tree by asking the students to attach their Maple leaves to the paper tree’s branches. Do the same with the Birch leaves or other types of leaves you’ve collected.
6. Compare and discuss. For a literature-based tie-in, read The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, to learn how important trees are to the environment.