Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Plant Classification - Tree Identification

This week we have begun our focus on plants.  This morning I went over leaf shape with the kids and we mainly looked at trees but I also allowed some shrub and flower leaves to be selected so they could see a variety of samples.  We don't have palm trees here in Massachusetts and my lilies were the best place to find an example of parallel veins.

Between pinning websites that have nice identification tools and pulling books from my own shelves, I've compiled a list that I thought might be helpful to you in studying and identifying trees.

Identification Websites



                                                                  Source: oplin.org via Cheryl on Pinterest

OPLIN - This is an Ohio based tree identification site that allows you to identify by leaf, fruit or name.  I like the child-friendliness of this site and the pictures that help them narrow down the choices.

From Virginia Tech's Forestry Outreach Site
                                                                              Source: dendro.cnre.vt.edu via Cheryl on Pinterest

This leaf key is a small portion of what you will find at Virginia Tech's online Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation website.  Both of the above links are from Virginia Tech's Forestry Outreach Site, a wonderful place to visit if you are studying trees.   The first picture of these two will take you to the page that directs your identification according to leaf, bark, twig or form.The picture just below it will take you to the page where you can begin identifying by leaf.

                                                                    Source: rogerstreesandshrubs.com via Cheryl on Pinterest
I would be remiss if I did not include just one more identification site.  Rogers Trees and Shrubs offers a very nice pictorial index for identifying both trees and shrubs which I found very helpful this morning.  You can narrow down your search by clicking on a series of images which will finally take you to a page with specific information about your tree including type of tree or shrub, size, foliage, leaf type, types of fruit, flowering period, leaf color and growing conditions.

Activities and Games with Some Hands-On

Education.com has worksheets for kids of all ages including this cute tree labeling activity for preschoolers, a second grade apple tree growth chart and this word search for fourth graders.

Tree Leaf Card Game - Dayna from Fo-ne-tic-lee Speaking put together this really nice card set that you can print and use for free!

KONOS Volume I - Orderliness offers several good activities involving identification, charting plant groups, leaf sorting activities as well as arts and crafts projects.

The Mystery Challenge was created by the Arbor Day Foundation for schools.  With some prep work, you can use this for homeschool and it provides a clear way to get your kids identifying trees by leaf.  Although this is designed as an indoor activity, you might get the kids outside to collect bunches of different leaves on a nature walk in advance of the activity.  Then use those leaves as your mystery leaves.  You will need to be on the nature walk as well to make sure you get enough different samples as described in the activity directions.

Homeschool Share offers a free lapbook for tree study.

Now for some not-so-very-sciencey-but-certainly-educational-in-an-artsy-way activities:

                                                                           Source: alphamom.com via Cheryl on Pinterest

We painted cherry blossom trees when spring first came to our cold neck of the woods albeit, a little bit early this year but no less welcome.  I got the idea from the pin above.

                                                                         Source: crafts.kaboose.com via Cheryl on Pinterest

There are tons of Christmas and fall tree crafts available online so I tried to steer away from them but this fall tree (and one other I am going to mention in a moment) can easily be made into a summer, spring or fruit tree and I love its simplicity.
                                                                                   Source: ikatbag.com via Cheryl on Pinterest

This one seems a bit more complicated to me. I admit, I haven't tried it. The blogger shares her instructions with excellent photos. Go check it out and please let me know if you've tried it.
                                                                      Source: childmadetutorials.blogspot.com via Cheryl on Pinterest

GORGEOUS! I just love this tree and I have enough paper bags to give it a try. This is the other tree labeled a "fall tree" but I can see how, with a little paint on the paper rolls before slicing, it could easily be a spring or summer tree.
Books and Videos
The line of Fandexes (Fandi?  How do you pluralize Fandex?) from Workman Publishing is extensive.  We have a couple different ones and they are always fun to pull out.  The Tree Fandex is no exception.

My favorite little books, The Golden Guides are easy to use, filled with lots of pictures and small enough to fit into your pocket on your next nature hike.

I filled the Amazon Carousel with an assortment of books and videos.  Most are about trees but a few explore the purpose of seeds.  I like to use different types of resources that are both informative as well as some that are purely for enjoyment.  Combining pleasure reading that is still focused on your topic with your fact based books will help keep your kids more focused and allow them to enjoy variety.

1 comment:

Phyllis said...

Looks like lots of fun!