This lesson called “Trees of Temperate Climate Zones” provides information about the trees that grow where there are four distinct season changes. Students read where temperate climate zones are located and what the climate is like in those zones. Next, there is an explanation of the two basic tree groups of deciduous and coniferous, which are sometimes called broadleaf and needle-leaf (also known as evergreens). Reasons for the names are provided and names of trees in each group are given.
Then the lesson moves on to parts of a tree and the purpose and jobs of those parts: roots, trunks, crown, branches, twigs, bark, leaves, blossoms (flowers), and fruit. A summary of the process of photosynthesis is presented, as well as the reason deciduous tree leaves change colors and fall.
The concept that leaves attach to twigs in alternate and opposite ways is reinforced with a photograph I took depicting the differences. Students learn that fruit appears after blossoms fall off and photos of various spring blossoms of deciduous trees, as well as many ordinary and extraordinary kinds of fruits, from oranges to acorns and the twirling maple fruit.
Students read why evergreens stay green all year long, and they learn that the leaves of coniferous trees are needles and that their cones are fruit. All these concepts are reinforced with a total of ten drawings and photos in all.
Additionally, the lesson mentions problems trees face; such as, forest fires, pollution, insect pests, plant diseases, and excessive cutting. Then it looks at the role of forest rangers in dealing with those problems. Trees provide the world with hundreds of useful products. Students learn about those and also about many other benefits trees provide.
25 multiple choice questions follow the informational text and the 10 pictures. The questions focus on the reading comprehension skills: determining main idea, relating causes to effects, identifying details, and making inferences. The lesson draws well on students’ experiential background and is designed to stimulate their interest in science and nature. The lesson would work well in both reading and science class. It will make a nice supplement to information presented about trees in science textbooks. It could serve as a test, homework, or a lesson for a substitute to teach. In upper grade levels, it could be an adapted science lesson for special needs students.