In Level A of the Treemendous Science! unit, students will explore trees and collect tree data to develop understandings about how trees grow, the roles trees play in ecological systems, and the ways in which trees and humans interact.
Level A is built on the following two Kindergarten Performance Expectations for Life Science and Environmental Science included in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
- K-LS1-1 – From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
- K-ESS2-1 – Earth’s Systems. Use and share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.
The following essential questions articulate big-picture concepts that allow Level A students to connect knowledge across academic standards, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas:
- What patterns do you observe in your tree over time?
- What evidence can you find of how weather impacts your tree?
- Students will analyze tree data, beginning with their own prior experiences and advancing to collecting, recording, and reporting data.
- Students will use observations to describe patterns in the natural world to answer scientific questions.
Level A activities support student understanding of the following science concepts, which are derived from NGSS’s crosscutting concepts, disciplinary core ideas, and scientific and engineering practices.
- All animals need food in order to live and grow. They obtain their food from plants or from other animals. Plants need water and light to live and grow.
- Weather is the combination of sunlight, wind, snow or rain, and temperature in a particular region at a particular time. People measure these conditions to describe and record the weather and to notice patterns over time.
- People can make observations using the senses of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch.
- Patterns help us to make predictions.
Assessing Student Learning
The Evaluate tab for Level A includes suggestions for:
- Pre-Assessment, which uses student-generated products from the Engage: Picture a Tree lesson.
- Formative Assessment, which can help you gauge student understanding midway through Level A lessons.
- Final Performance Assessment, which should be conducted after the completion of the lessons, and which includes a rubric for assessing student learning.
Each Level A activity includes a Getting Ready section, which describes how to prepare for teaching that activity.
For Level A as a whole, we recommend finding an area with several trees on or near the school grounds that your class can visit over the course of the year. Be sure to check the site for any hazards such as deep holes, sharp objects, or poisonous or irritating plants.
See Literature Connections to find other resources for teaching this level.
|Engage: Picture a Tree||Getting Ready: 5 Minutes
Class Time: 30 Minutes
|1: The Closer You Look||Getting Ready: 10 Minutes
Class Time: 50 Minutes
|2: To Be a Tree||Getting Ready: 25 Minutes
Class Time: 50 Minutes
|3: Adopt a Tree||Getting Ready: 15 Minutes
Class Time: 50 Minutes, then ongoing visits throughout the year
You may use the Key Vocabulary: Level A student page to introduce students to the following vocabulary terms or to review or assess their mastery of these terms. Note that the definitions below are geared for students, while the definitions that “pop up” within the activity text online are geared for the teacher.
|Bark||The outer covering of a tree.|
|Cone||A hard, woody fruit from a pine or fir tree.|
|Flower||The part of a plant that makes seeds or fruit.|
|Leaf||The flat green part of a plant that grows from a stem or branch.|
|Nut||A small, dry fruit with a hard shell that grows on some trees and other plants.|
|Roots||The parts of a plant that grow underground.|
PLT Conceptual Framework
|Lesson||Conceptual Framework Connection|
|Engage: Picture a Tree||4.1 Populations of organisms exhibit variations in size and structure as a result of adaptations to their habitats.|
|1: The Closer You Look||4.1 Populations of organisms exhibit variations in size and structure as a result of adaptations to their habitats.|
|2: To Be a Tree||4.1 Populations of organisms exhibit variations in size and structure as a result of adaptations to their habitats.
4.2 The structure and scale of ecosystems are influenced by environmental factors such as soil type, climate, availability of water, and human activities.
|3: Adopt a Tree||2.1 Organisms are interdependent and depend on nonliving components of the Earth.
5.3 Ecosystems change over time through patterns of growth and succession. They are also affected by other phenomena, such as disease, insects, fire, weather, climate, and human intervention.
See Standards Connections in the Appendices for a list of standards addressed in Treemendous Science! Level A activities.