Tricky trees

Eco - warriors trying to save the Stubbington Study Centre trees from being chopped down

Tricky trees
Learning outcome

To understand the 7 life processes common to all other living things, particularly in the context of trees.

Key Stubbington focus

Environment - trees

  • For more able Year 4 and above
  • Duration 1½ hours
Success criteria
  • I can recall the 7 life processes
  • I can explain how these relate to trees
  • I can give reasons why trees are important
  • I can use the map grid to find locations
Session plan

Introduction (40mins)

Tell the children that they will be eco - warriors and that the centre needs their help. They need to know more about the trees in the grounds because a builder wants to come in and chop them down.

Briefly discuss and list ‘life processes’ common to all living things and relate these to trees and plants, for example:

  • Movement - leaves move to track the sun
  • Reproduction - flowers are pollinated + produce fruits/seeds + seed dispersal
  • Sensitivity - green leaves sense movement of sun, change in seasons, daylight and temperature
  • Growth - trees add a new layer of growth (tree rings)
  • Respiration (breathing) - green plants ‘ breathe in’ carbon dioxide required for photosynthesis
  • Excretion (waste) - a waste product of trees is oxygen as a result of photosynthesis. Trees also shed leaves containing waste products of photosynthesis
  • Nutrition (feeding) - green plants make their own food and get nutrients from the soil to help them grow

Check with schools which acronym is used MRS GREN/MRS NERG. At this point, introduce glossary words: Photosynthesis, evergreen, deciduous.

The Game

Give each pair of children a clipboard with a map sheet and leaf identification sheet on it. Use the key to identify features on the map and revise map reading skills. Talk about how to orientate themselves and the map.

Revise map grid skills.

Ask children to look at the table with the ten different trees. These are the ten places they must go to. Once there, they must locate the particular tree in that area which will be marked with a tag (show example tag). The children can use the ‘tree leaves’ key to help them find the tree. Once they have found the tree, they must answer the question on the back of the tag which will be about life processes of plants, and write their answer in the correct box on the table.

Main (40mins)

Play the Game

Send each pair to start at a different tree; the rest they can do in any order.

The children will also have to find the ‘builder’(a teacher in role) and try to persuade him/her not to destroy the trees. An original reason will be rewarded with a bonus point (bird stamp), if they can’t think of an original reason they will lose a point (axe stamp). All children must go to the builder or they will receive an axe stamp at the end of the game.

The end of the activity will be signalled by a whistle, after 40 mins, and return to the classroom.

Plenary (10mins)

  • Go through the answers and briefly discuss the results
  • Mark all the sheets, adding a point for bird stamps and deducting a point for an axe stamp
  • The winning pair can be rewarded with a Super Star badge

Less able children

  • Adults will be around to support with map reading and map grid skills
  • Letter/number co-ordinates can be used
  • Builder to be flexible in answers given by less able

More able children

  • Builder to challenge reasons from more able and extend answers
  • Differentiation of vocabulary, higher level
  • 4 figure grid references can be used

Useful prior learning

  • Co - ordinate or grid reference skills
  • MRS GREN – 7 life processes
  • Build-a-tree

Possible follow up activities

  • Persuasion – why we shouldn’t chop down the trees
  • Debate/discussion – trees or development?
  • Diamond 9 – why are trees important to us
  • Use tree leaf key to identify some of the trees in own schools grounds
  • 6 figure grid references
  • Tree study - including height, circumference etc
  • Meet-a-tree
Health and safety checks
  • Playing area is conservation area, boundaries should be made clear
  • Look out for ponds, ditches, nettles. Paths checked and cut back regularly
  • Children must not climb trees
  • Children must stay with their partners when moving around
  • Adults should behave in a calm and controlled manner to model for children
  • Additional adults to be in conservation area, one near classrooms to be easily found