Resources for PreK-8 Activity 61 – The Closer You Look

All students, no matter how young, have an idea of what a tree looks like. But many are unfamiliar with the actual structure of a tree. In this activity, your students will go outdoors or view pictures to take a closer look at trees and their parts.

This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 

RECOMMENDED READING

Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals while building upon concepts learned in this activity with the following children’s book recommendations:

FAMILY ACTIVITY

Try a simple variation of this activity to engage children in the outdoors at home. Download this fun and easy-to-do family activity.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:

  • Video demo: The Closer You Look

    Watch The Closer You Look Demonstration video (11 minutes). PLT’s The Closer You Look helps students learn about trees and tree parts. This video was developed by Danielle Ardrey, Colorado PLT Coordinator, this step-by-step instructional video offers guiding questions and examples of tree drawings.

  • BeLEAF it or Not: How to Identify Trees

    Learn about tree Identification in this “BeLEAF it or Not” video How To Identify Trees. Michigan foresters, Bill Cook and Georgia Peterson, explain some identification characteristics of trees, such as bark, buds, fruits, and leaves. They also explain the Latin/two-part scientific names for living things that allow people throughout the world to communicate unambiguously about species. Intended for students in grades four through seven, the episode has an accompanying resource page.

  • Tree Rings Simulation

    The science of tree rings is called dendrochronology. Tree rings help scientists learn about past climates by decoding tree ring patterns. Climate scientists use clues from ice cores, layered sediment deposits in lakes and seas, the structure of coral reefs, as well as tree ring sequences to learn about paleoclimates. The use of tree ring records to decode Earth’s climate history is called dendroclimatology. Use this interactive Tree Rings Simulation by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Center for Science Education to learn what tree ring patterns can tell us about climate conditions in the past.

  • Discover the Forest

    A program of the Ad Council and U.S. Forest Service, Discover the Forest offers resources that help families discover nearby forests and provides tips on how to prepare for and enjoy outdoor adventures.

  • Inner Parts of A Tree Model

    Help students visualize the inner layers of a tree trunk and better understand the function of its different parts by creating this easy-to-make visual aid – a cross-section of a tree trunk.

  • Neighborhood Explorers

    US Fish and Wildlife’s Neighborhood Explorers Game for 8-11 year olds allows students to take an interest in their own backyards.  Students learn about nature as they complete games in the Neighborhood Explorers (NX) clubhouse and earn points for observing nature in person.  Students are asked to record observations of bugs, birds, and other wildlife found in their own backyards.  Students then submit their findings online and can compare statistics and generate reports.  The website also offers ideas for conservation activities that students can do at home.

  • Soil Explorers

    The Soil Explorers website, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, is designed just for kids. Learn about the importance of soil, soil food webs, soil facts, and more. A brief assessment is even included to test soil knowledge.

  • A Forest Year

    Check out this video, which captures 15 months of a forest’s life. This 3-minute time lapse video was created from 40,000 photographs. Photographer Samuel Orr took pictures out of the same window in his home to create this forest montage. This forest snapshot is just outside of Bloomington, Indiana and was photographed between 2006 and 2008. You can visit Samuel’s website to learn more about the making.

  • LeafSnap

    Leafsnap is a free app that can be downloaded onto the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (Andriod version in development). Leafsnap uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from individual leaf photographs you take in the field. This application contains high-resolution images of bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and more. Currently Leafsnap specializes in tree species found in the Northeastern United States, but expansion to include all US regions is underway.

  • You-Tube Dendrology

    Dr. Don Leopold, State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry professor, has identified a total of 135 tree species on You-Tube. These 2-minute, high definition videos briefly summarize how to identify each tree species, its ecological characteristics and importance, and communicate fun facts. While the list of native and non-native tree species is familiar to Northeastern landscapes, many western U.S. tree species are also covered. These vignettes are also all available for free on i-Tunes.

  • Functions of Forest Soil

    This informational handout, made available by Montana State University Extension Forestry, describes forest soil profiles, functions, and the effects that natural and manmade impacts can have on overall forest health. 

  • AllTrails

    A free app that can be downloaded onto Apple and Android devices. AllTrails helps users to get out and discover the outdoors. Use it to plan a national park visit, find a hiking path near home, or map a new trail of your own! AllTrails can help you find local places to run, hike, bike, fish, and more in the outdoors. You can even upload photos and images to trails you create.

  • Life: Magnified

    Life: Magnified is an exhibit of scientific images showing cells and other scenes of life magnified by as much as 50,000 times. The exhibit is on display at Washington Dulles International Airport’s Gateway Gallery from June through November 2014. The supporting Life: Magnified website features high-resolution version of all 46 images in the collection along wiht long captions than in the airport exhibit. In this online gallery, you’ll see cells from all around the body–brain, blood, eyed, skin, liver, muscle. Each type of cell teaches different lessons about how life works. 

  • Scratch

    Using Scratch, educators of all ages and levels can program interactive stories, games, and animations and share their creations in an online community. Click on For Educators to access tips and resources for using Scratch in the classroom, including an introductory video, how-to tutorials, and a webinar. Teachers can also join the ScratchEd community to connect and collaborate with other educators using Scratch.

  • Epic! For Educators

    Are you looking for new literature connections to support your favorite PLT lessons? This growing Epic! online library offers thousands of picture books, chapter books, early readers, and even nonfiction books (think Common Core Connections!) that elementary teachers can access free of cost. Registered users receive unlimited access to books and customized recommendations for readers’ age levels and interests. Epic! is available for iPads, iPhones, and Android devices.