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A Tree Observation Activity for Science Lessons

By Laurie Patsalides

In this easy science center time activity, Trees and Seasons, students will learn about and explore the many things that trees give to us, fostering an appreciation of the many gifts that trees provide.

Teach about Trees

Before allowing the students to go to the science center activity, teach about trees:

Trees provide us with many gifts. Trees provide oxygen, through photosynthesis of the leaves, to humans and animals. They also provide a shade for us in the warm weather, and a home for many animals and insects. They provide us wood for our homes, boats and for bonfires. Native Americans used trees to make canoes. Trees also give us food. Pears, apples, bananas, coconuts, walnuts, cherries and oranges, to name a few, all grow from trees. Trees provide us with many materials that we use every day at school like tables, desks, paper, pencils, rulers, books, blocks and paint. Trees provide household items for us as well, such as paper towel rolls, clothespins, and even the maple syrup for pancakes is processed from sap inside the maple tree. If desired, provide an indoor tree such as a Bonsai or Ficus for students to observe as well.

Say to the students:

  • Today, I have provided many of these items for observation and have a collection on the observation table. There are books about trees, your journals, magnifying glasses, pencils and crayons. Your assignment is to study the items and journal about them. You can write a poem about a tree or about one object that comes from a tree, you can tell a story, create a list or draw and label each item that you observe.

Observation Table for Science Center Activity

Provide an observation table for students to visit during center time. This activity will allow them to explore some of the gifts that we receive from trees. It is recommended that the optimal number of students in the center for this activity is four to five students.

Materials Needed

For Student Use:

Books about trees (see article one for suggested reading)

Magnifying glasses

Journals and pencils


For Observation:

Acorns, walnuts, hickory

Shoe polish

Pencil and paper

Maple syrup

Book, magazine, newspaper

Doll furniture

Wooden ruler


Wooden clothespin

Assessment of Tree Center Activiites

Formal: Provided a worksheet with some of the objects on it, including those that do not come from trees, can the students circle only the objects that do come from trees?

Informal: Journal entry. Each should be individually assessed for content and quality. Student work is always expected to be neat and legible. Center behavior- can be self-assessed by the student. Student uses materials appropriately, cleans the area, and maintains a pleasant atmosphere with other students in the center.