Objective: Children will explore the life of a tree using a cross-section slice of a tree (a tree cookie).
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A tree cookie is a horizontal cross-section of a tree that shows the interior structure of the tree. The outside of the cookie is covered by bark, which protects the tree. Next to the bark is a ring called the cambium, which helps the tree make new bark. The center of the tree cookie is called the heartwood, and it supports the tree on the inside. The rings around the heartwood indicate the age of the tree; one ring is equal to 1 year of the tree’s life.
Trees are important to people and nature. Trees provide oxygen, shade, wood, and paper. Many animals spend much of their lives in trees. Trees also provide shelter from weather and protection from enemies for many animals. Trees provide food in the form of fruits, nuts, leaves, bark, and roots. Even dead trees provide shelter and food for many insects.
Try to choose an image (or the real thing) that clearly shows the interior structure of the tree, so the children can easily see the bark, cambium, and heartwood and can count the rings.
These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.
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There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.