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Called “My Life As A Tree,” this lesson is on Tree Rings, Bark, Cambium, and Heartwood


Science, Social Studies  


K, 1, 2, 3, 4  

Title – “My Life As A Tree”
By – Judy Altheide
Subject – Science, Social Studies
Grade Level – K-4

Note from the author: This lesson can be used for Kindergarten through fourth grade! This is a good way to introduce the students to three parts of a tree and how they function. Extensions can be easily added such as studying the tree rings for evidence of disease, fire, and other detrimental effects on a tree. E-mail me if you need any tree lesson plans and I will try to assist you!

— TLW identify and explain the significance of a tree’s annual rings
— TLW recognize and define the importance of the bark, cambium, and the heartwood of a tree
— TLW create a model of their own “life as a tree,” and explain it to their classmates.

Does anyone know the purpose of the bark on a tree? Does anyone know what the words cambium and heartwood mean? Has anyone ever seen the “rings” inside of a tree? Does anyone know what a tree’s “rings” represent? Today we will learn the meaning and importance of these parts of a tree.

TTW explain the significance of the bark (protects tree), cambium (helps tree make new bark), and the heartwood (supports tree on the inside).
TTW utilize a poster to show these 3 layers.
TTW ask and answer any questions to check for comprehension.
TTW explain one significance of the annual rings on a tree. (tell its age)
TTW show the students how to properly count a tree’s rings in order to calculate its age. (Count only the dark or light shades not all of the shades)
TLW count the number of rings on a tree cookie.
TTW ask and answer any questions to check for comprehension.
TTW give each student a paper plate, and brown, red, and green crayons.
TTW instruct the students to color the bumpy outside part of the plate brown, just like the bark on a tree.
TLW draw a green circle around the plate to represent the cambium.
TLW draw a red heart symbol in the center of the plate to represent the heartwood.
TTW ask and answer any questions to check for comprehension.
TTW tell each child to put the same number of rings as their age on the plate.
TTW will give each child a pencil and 2 sticky labels.
TLW place the label beside at least two important events in their life-birth, when started school, learned how to ride a bike etc.
TLW share their life as a tree with their classmates.

What did we learn today? What are the three parts of a tree? What do these parts do for a tree? What do the rings inside of a tree tell us?

TLW identify and describe the three parts of a tree by pointing to them on a poster.
TLW tell what the annual rings of a tree are and point to them on a poster.
TLW show and explain their “My Life As A Tree” plate to their classmates.

Crayons (green, red, brown), pencils, paper plates, sticky labels, tree cookie poster, real tree cookie

E-Mail Judy !

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