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It’s looking more like fall every day! Fall is a great time of year to get outside with your kiddos. It’s not as hot as summer, but it hasn’t gotten cold yet either. We spend a lot of time outside each fall just to enjoy the perfect weather before winter arrives.
Fall is the perfect time to do a study about trees. And the best part is that it can be super easy and informal if you want it to be.
Start by going outside at your own house, a near-by trail, or a local park and identifying the kinds of trees in your area. You can use a guide such as Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification, Revised and Updated, or you can find a guide that is specific to your area of the country.
If you’d like to include vocabulary in your study of trees, there are lots of great vocabulary words you can include! And the best part is that these vocabulary words can make it easier to identify the trees in your area, so they’re useful to your students and you. I think it’s always good to make vocabulary words meaningful and let students know why the particular words they’re studying are important. It makes more sense to them if they can easily understand why they’re learning those specific words. Here are some to consider. But of course you can include whatever tree-related vocabulary words you’d like to study.
- alternate– staggered leaves
- broadleaf– a tree with flat thin leaves that generally shed annually
- compound (leaf)– a leaf with more than one blade, where leaves attach to tree there is a bud
- conifer– a cone-bearing tree
- deciduous– shed leaves annually
- evergreen-trees with needle-like leaves that remain alive through the winter season
- opposite– leaves are directly across from one another
Tree Notebook Pages
Studying trees any time of year can be fun and interesting, but studying them in the fall can be especially fun because of the leaves’ beautiful colors!
I was inspired to make Tree Notebook Pages to complement my other Nature Notebook Pages. You can use the Tree Notebook Pages I have created in a variety of ways. You may want to use them to go along with a unit study, to go along with a textbook you’re using, or you may want to use them on their own as a short and informal stand-alone unit study. However you choose to use them, I think you and your students will enjoy them and learn a lot!
The Tree Notebook Pages that I created also include several blank pages that can be used with any tree activity. Additionally, there are 10 lined pages in a variety of styles. These extra pages can be used however you’d like! Here are a few suggestions:
- Write a poem.
- Write a short story.
- Look up some “fun facts” about trees and record them.
- Work on descriptive writing by having your student describe in words the way a tree or leaf looks.
- Work on descriptive writing by having your student describe in words the way a tree or leaf feels.
- Be creative! Write a short story from the perspective of a tree. Have your student pretend that he or she is a tree. Ask interview questions and write down the answers. Examples could be:
- Do you like it when squirrels live in your branches?
- How does it feel when there is a storm and you get blown around in the wind?
- How does it feel when your leaves fall off in the winter or when you grow new leaves in the spring?
- Do you like it when it rains? Why or why not?
- Do you like it when cats climb you? Why or why not?
- How does it feel when birds land on your branches? Does it tickle?
- Would you like to become a beautiful piece of furniture one day and get to live inside someone’s house? Or would you rather stay outside rooted in place?
- Would you like to become an instrument like a piano or a guitar so you can make beautiful music?
You can use the Tree Notebook Pages with any age, but they are designed for elementary through middle school. The best thing about them is that they can be used in multiple ways with multiple children over the years. So they are are a small investment that will reap rewards for years to come! There are a total of 43 pages for only $1.99.
Tree Unit Study Resources:
If you’re interested in using additional resources to expand your study of trees, you may want to look at some of the links below. And whatever you choose to study, be sure to have fun being outside and learning with your students!
Elementary Tree Nature Units & Beyond:
Handbook of Nature Study Blog Units
Deciduous Trees , Leaf Experiment- Chromotography, The Study of a Twig, October Creation Club Trees, and Nature Study-Leaves : Our Journey Westward
Fall Tree Unit Resources and Leaf Unit Study: The Homeschool Scientist
Tree Fact Cards: Sally Borrink Learning
Trees Worth Knowing and The First Book of Trees: Homeschool Commons
Tree Unit Study: Unlikely Homeschool
Christmas Tree Science: Starts at Eight
Rainforest Unit Study : Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus
Autumn Tree Study: Serving from Home