Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Parts Of A Tree; A Science Poster

I am always amazed what I learned but was never officially taught. Then, my students come to me, and I sometimes expect them to have the same background information. I am constantly reminding myself that I cannot make such assumptions. The parts of a tree exemplify this. While many students know what a trunk is, they may not know the difference between a limb and a branch or that the top of a tree is called a “crown.”

This is a poster drawn on a regular sheet of copy paper. I have the students freehand a tree while I walk them through it by drawing on the board. Believe it or not, I start with the foliage. Basically, they are cloud-like shapes, but I only do these on one side of the paper. Then, we draw the trunk and roots. At this point, the hardest part begins—limbs, branches, and twigs. I remind my students that most of these will reach upwards (and we discuss why—to help the leaves get as much sunlight as possible). They also become narrower the further they are from the trunk. You will also notice that my model displays one of my favorite art lessons—nothing in nature is a single color! I don’t let my students get away with solid, green foliage. (We don’t have art in our school, but I am an artist; I try to get art lessons in whenever I can!) We talk about where the sunlight is going to hit the leaves the most and color that area a lighter green than where there will be shadows, which will be the darkest green.

This is a quick lesson to ensure that we all have the same background knowledge and can use the same vocabulary.

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