Spanish Version

Tree Journal

Science Activity

In this activity children develop their observation skills by applying their senses to the study of life in and around a single tree. The observations can be done as a whole class project in school or as an individual project at home.


  • Small notebook or pad of paper
  • Pencils and crayons
  • Magnifying glass
  • 8 1/2" x 14" construction paper
  • Yarn or ribbon
  • Tape measures
  • Copies of Take a Closer Look (print - out and copy)


  1. Explain to children that they are going to adopt a tree. To do so, they will learn all they can about the tree and record what they learn in a journal.

  2. With the class, take a walk to locate a nearby tree. The tree you choose should look healthy and stand out somewhat from other trees for easy recognition.

  3. Distribute copies of Take a Closer Look and read it aloud with children.

  4. You can determine over what period of time you wish the observations to take place. If enthusiasm is high, you may wish to extend the activity for more than one season so children can note seasonal differences.

  5. To make a Tree Journal, fold the construction paper in half and tie the pages into book form with yarn or ribbon. After children make observations, have them sign their observations and/or drawings and paste them into the journal. Display the finished journal in the classroom science center.


  • Have children collect different kinds of leaves and put them between sheets of waxed paper and iron them. Then cut out each leaf, trimming the paper with pinking sheers for an attractive edge. Use the pressed leaves for window or wall decorations.

  • Use tree products for counting activities. For example, have students count the number of needles in a cluster of pine needles, the number of leaves in a leaflet from an ash tree, and so forth.

  • Have children make birthday or holiday cards using tree motifs. They can trace and color leaves, use bark rubbings, or draw flowers and fruits from their adopted tree.

You may download, print and make copies of this page for use in your classroom, provided that you include the copyright notice shown below on all such copies.

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