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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thematic Teaching with Trees

In preparation for the fall ball, the maple shed her green summer frock and donned a magnificent magenta cloak.

Tomorrow, my fourth grade class will have some fun with trees.

Activity #1 - Writing: Personification of a Tree
     Each student will use this organizer to plan three to five sentences that personify a specific tree. He/she will sketch the tree's trunk and branches then print the sentences across the page. Finally, after outlining everything in black, the student will color the trunk and sponge paint leaves onto the picture.

Activity #2 - Reading
     Students in my class will read Why Leaves Change Color (North Carolina Testing Program). This brief one-page piece fits well with the longer personification piece. Other options include Why Leaves Change Color, a one-page text written by Stephen Caney, and Autumn Leaves and Fall Color (posted by Science Made Simple).

Activity #3 - Math
     Factor Trees (MathAids.Com) provide an essential link in learning about multiplication and division.

Activity #4 - Science
     Each group will cut and mash a particular leaf, pour isopropyl alcohol over it, wait one hour, and extrapolate colors using coffee filters. You can see examples of how this works in two videos: Time for Me to Leaf (8:45) and Leaf Color Chromatography (4:24).

Activity #5 - Social Studies
     I will supply each group with projected dates for peak fall colors, as shown below. They will cut out the states and dates, arrange them in similar piles, then create a map (with  a key) to show when peak colors will appear in each state. You can download a free map from Free US and World by clicking here.

Want to infuse a little excitement into learning this fall? Try thematic teaching with trees!