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Assigning a Tree Identification Science Project for Elementary Students

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 7/12/2012

If you're looking for a great life science activity for your class, this one is worth checking out. This project gets kids outside identifying trees common to their area. This tree scrapbook might just inspire some future botanists in your classroom.

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    Identify Trees in Your Area

    This tree identification project goes beyond the classic leaf collection that we all remember doing in school. This project requires students to work with parents or a caregiver to collect leaf specimens. For this project, have your students put together their own tree "scrapbook" of ten common trees in your area. These will be trees that you know are plentiful, as well as native to your area, so that each student will be able to find them. Your students will gain a lot of knowledge about the trees that are growing in their own neighborhoods. This project will also get them outside exploring their world in greater detail. In addition, they will learn some valuable research skills.

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    Activity Guidelines

    Objective: Students will identify ten trees common to their area.

    Materials:

    • Tree identification book
    • Scrapbook paper
    • Three ring binder
    • Colored pencils, crayons, and other art supplies
    • Tape and/or glue

    Procedure:

    This is a project for students to complete at home. Provide students with a list of common trees in your area. Students will pick ten trees from the list for their project. Your students will identify the trees using a pocket-type tree identification booklet. They will find the trees, then put together a page for each tree. For each tree, the student will take a picture of the tree, collect a leaf, as well as any fruit or nut that the tree produces. Have the student do a crayon rubbing of the tree's bark, and attach that to the scrapbook as well. Finally, the student will make a sketch of the tree's shape.

    When finished, this will be quite an in-depth exploration of some of the trees native to your area. The added bonus is that your students will be outdoors exploring nature, and bringing science and art together to create a project that they will enjoy the process of creating as much as the final product.

    Evaluation:

    Teacher will observe the final project to determine whether or not the project depicts accurate information.

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    Read More

    For a Tree Unit, read more from Laurie Patsalides.