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Meet a Tree


Have you ever been properly introduced to a tree? Here's your chance to personally get to know something very special.


  • any tree
  • a hand lens (optional)


Nancy F. Castaldo is the author of many books packed with inspiring ideas for childhood discovery and learning. In addition to the three titles above, Nancy has written activity guides for teaching children ages 6 to 9 about the ocean, rainforests, deserts, and rivers. All of these titles are published by Chicago Review Press.

Click here to learn about these books and others by Nancy Castaldo.

Invite every student to pick a tree to meet. Have them look at their trees from far enough away to see the whole tree. What shape is the tree? Talk about what your students' trees look like.

Have students walk right up to their tress. Ask them to study its bark. What does it feel like? Is it bumpy or smooth? What color is it?

Next, have them examine the leaves of their trees. What shape are they? What color? Have them fold one of the leaves in half length-wise. Are the two sides the same?

Invite students to hug their trees. Can they get their arms around its trunk?

Challenge students to "be" the tree. They might spread their arms tall like the branches. Have them feel the sun, a squirrel in their branches, the wind blowing their leaves


Involve students in some of these extension activities:

Students might make a rubbing of the bark of their trees by placing a piece of paper on the tree and rubbing a crayon firmly over the paper. Compare the rubbing with the rubbings from other trees. Are they the same or different?

Adopt a tree: Invite students to take special care of their trees. Weed around its base, plant a few daffodil bulbs around its base in the fall, pick up any litter that gathers near it

Sit under a tree and read aloud Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree.


Purposeful Parts
Each part of a tree helps to make it what it is. The leaves help make food. The bark helps to protect the tree from weather, insects, and disease. The roots act like straws by drawing water and minerals up from the soil to the rest of the tree. They also anchor the tree in the ground. Ask: What do you think the branches are for?


Education World lesson plans: Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year


This activity is excerpted from Nancy Castaldo's Sunny Days and Starry Nights, which is published by Chicago Review Press. The activity is one of more than 65 activities from Sunny Days and Starry Nights that are sure to inspire children as they discover and learn.

About the Author

A native of New York's Hudson Valley, Nancy Castaldo earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Marymount College and a Master of Arts from the State University of New York. As an environmental educator, author, and Girl Scout volunteer and board member, Castaldo has led numerous children's workshops. Her school programs include workshops on ocean creatures and other nature topics, creative writing, and pizza making/Italy. She has conducted programs at the Boston Children's Museum, Atlanta Zoo, and Tennessee Aquarium. Castaldo's books include River Wild: An Activity Guide to North American Rivers; Oceans: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9; Deserts: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9; and Rainforests: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9. She is also author of a historical-fiction picture book, Pizza for the Queen. To learn more about Nancy and her books, check out her Web site, www.nancycastaldo.com.

Article by Nancy Castaldo
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