This module is designed to be used throughout the school year (or compressed over a few weeks) to continually engage your students in learning about trees. Any number of units can be explored as part of the module, in any order. Each unit contains a core activity, and some also list extension activities to expand learning on the topic. In addition, activities in each unit can be split up over multiple sessions or class periods.
Follow the links below for activities and more within each section.
Learning Objectives: Students will be able to explain basic tree anatomy and tree processes and demonstrate an understanding of essential needs, parts, functions, and processes trees have individually as well as in the broader environment. Students can apply their learning to select potential planting locations that meet Moon Tree's needs.
Core Activity: (45-60 minutes):
Watch this video about tree biology:
Summary: This video is 2 minutes and discusses how trees create food for themselves, tree anatomy, and vital processes.
Learn about how resources impact tree growth with this PLT activity.
Summary: Students model how trees compete for essential needs and how varying amounts of resources can affect tree growth.
Materials needed: 8" x 10" (20 cm x 25 cm) pieces of paper or white paper plates; 4-6 different colors of poker chips, or construction paper; large sheet of paper or other means for recording group results
Next Generation Science Standards addressed in this activity:
K-LS1-1: Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals need to survive.
5-LS1-1: Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
4-LS1-1: Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
MS-LS2-1: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
Watch this video about photosynthesis:
Summary: This video is 1-minute and discusses the role photosynthesis plays in the atmosphere and how trees take in carbon and release oxygen.
Read the Natural Inquirer monograph FACELook: Exploring the relationship between carbon, photosynthesis, and the roots of trees.
Learning objectives: Students can describe a tree using observations. Students develop an understanding of tree measurements and can measure trees in a systematic, consistent way, organizing the data they collect. Students use their observations and measurements to analyze tree health and growth and are prepared to measure and monitor a Moon Tree.
Core Activities: (two 50-minute sessions):
Assess the health of trees in your schoolyard (or in your community) through this PLT activity.
Summary: Students use a worksheet to help them identify unhealthy trees and potential causes.
Materials needed: Worksheet copies
Learn how to take data measurements of trees with this PLT activity.
Summary: Students learn how to measure a tree's circumference and height using basic materials.
Watch this video about measuring trees:
Summary: This is a 2-minute video showing how to measure tree height, circumference, and crown spread.
Materials needed: Metric ruler (or yardstick) and a large ball of string or measuring tape, a large sheet of paper and marking pens, or another way to record group measurements.
Next Generation Science Standards addressed in this activity:
3-LS3-2: Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.
Summary: Students imagine what sugar maple trees in the northeastern United States might look like at four different times during the fall. There will be a discussion about what causes the leaves to change color.
Materials needed: Four sheets of plain white paper and crayons or colored pencils.
Learning Objectives: Students can explain and identify forest ecosystem energy cycles, nutrient flows, the interdependence between organisms, and ecosystem services. Students can connect how Moon Trees play a role in the larger ecosystem.
Core Activities: (three 50-minute sessions):
Watch the following video about forest ecosystems:
Summary: This 2-minute video explains the basic definition and functions of a forest ecosystem.
If time permits watch the following video:
Summary: This 24-minute video shows two kid-adventurers exploring and learning about their local forest ecosystem.
Students can identify and calculate the many benefits trees provide society (wood products, clean water, recreation, etc.) using i-Tree Design. Students can explain the importance of sustainable forestry and forest products. Students are prepared to calculate the benefits provided by Moon Trees.
Core Activity: (one 50-minute session; one activity will take a few minutes each day for a month):
Watch this video from PBS about forest resources and sustainable forestry.
This 4-minute video explores a variety of forest resources and how sustainable forestry is an important practice to maintain a healthy forest.
Read Flow Down, an article about how managing forests helps maintain water supplies.
Summary: Students write stories about going home from the viewpoint of an animal who makes his or her home in the forest. At the end of the activity, students will discuss whether using the distance from roads is a good measure of naturalness.
Learning Objectives: Students will utilize their knowledge of tree biology, ecosystems, and measurements/observations to become Moon Tree citizen scientists. Students can describe the important role of citizen scientists and are able to share and analyze tree measurement data. Students are prepared to report Moon Tree data.
Core Activities: (One to two 50-minute sessions):
Watch this introduction to GLOBE Tree Observer:
Summary: This 1-minute video shows how citizen scientists can use the Trees tool in the Globe Observer app to measure tree height and circumference.
Watch this video about How to Take a Trees Observation using the Globe Observer App:
Summary: In this 8-minute video, Globe Observer Tree science lead Brain Campbell demonstrates how to use the Globe Observer App to take a tree height measurement.
Summary: Students compare tree height measurements using a hand-held paper clinometer versus the Globe Observer: Trees Tool for citizen science and explain any difference between the two measurement methods.
Materials: string, tape, paper drinking straw, paperclip, clipboard, smart device with NASA Globe Observer app installed.
Explore Forest and Plant Scientist careers with your students through the Forest & Plant Scientist Cards. There are over 70 related scientists cards, and each one features a Forest Service scientist and their research. All of these cards can be ordered, downloaded, and even printed as posters!
A plant pathologist specializes in plant health. Keeping plants healthy requires an understanding of the organisms that cause disease, as well as an undertanding of how plants grow and are affected by disease.