In this activity, students observe trees and collect data about them. They then draw a picture of a tree and compare and contrast it to the one they drew in the Engage: Picture a Tree activity.
- Look at Me! student page
- Drawing paper, crayons or markers
- Student drawing from Engage: Picture a Tree
- Tree for study (see Getting Ready)
trunk, bark, branch, seeds, flowers, fruits, nuts, cones, roots, crown, leaf
- Locate a tree that students can observe closely. It may be one in the schoolyard or at a nearby park or greenspace, or a live potted tree you bring to the classroom.
- SAFETY NOTE: If you are taking students to an outside site, check for any hazards, such as deep holes, sharp objects, or poisonous or irritating plants.
Doing the Activity
- Explain to students that they are going to take a closer look at a tree and later they will use their observations to draw a new picture of a tree.
- Give students a copy of the Look at Me! student page. Ask them to describe what they might look for under each part of the student page, using these questions to guide them:
- Trunk and Branches: What shape is the trunk? Is there only one trunk or do several trunks come out of the ground near the same spot? What shape are the tree’s branches?
- Bark: What color is the tree’s bark? How does it feel? How does it look?
- Leaves: What shape is the tree’s leaves? What color are they? How do they feel?
- Seeds: Are there any seeds, flowers, fruits, nuts, or cones on the tree?
- Tree Shape: What shape is the tree’s leafy part? (Round, straight, pointy, oval?)
- Plants or Animals: What other plants or animals live on, in, or under the tree?
- Show students the tree you located in Getting Ready. Looking at it together, encourage students to notice various details of the tree. Have the children use their bodies to bend and twist like the branches, flutter around like the leaves, stand straight and tall like the trunk, or mimic other characteristics of the tree.
- Give students time to complete the student page, sketching or writing words for each of the features.
- Back in the classroom, have students draw a picture of a tree. Encourage them to include as much detail as they can.
- Hang students’ pairs of drawings (from this activity and Engage: Picture a Tree) around the room. Let students walk around to compare each set of drawings. Is anyone’s second picture very different from their first? What new details, for example, appeared in the second drawing?
Remember to visit the Enrich tab for recommended children’s books that support the science concepts covered in this activity.