A Tree Exploration

1. The center of the tree is the heartwood. Have one student stand to portray the heartwood and flex and tighten their muscles and chant, “I am heartwood, I support; I support!”

2. The sapwood contains xylem cells that transport water to all parts of the tree. Have four students join hands to form a small circle around the heartwood. Have these students chant, “We are sapwood. Gurgle, slurp. Transport water!”

3. Phloem transports food from the leaves to the rest of the tree. Have six students portray phloem by forming a circle around the sapwood. They should simulate phloem by reaching up above their heads and grab for food and then squat down and open their hands near the ground, while chanting, “We are phloem. Food for the tree!”

4. Ask five students to form a circle between the sapwood and the phloem. The new students represent the cambium. The cambium layer produces new sapwood and phloem to keep the tree growing and healthy. Have these students join hands and sway from side to side while chanting, “We are cambium. New phloem, sapwood and cambium.”

5. The final component is the bark. Have eight students stand around the outside of the circle. Ask them to lock arms and be tough. The bark protects the tree so have the students march in place and chant, “We are bark. Please keep out!”

6. When the tree is assembled, have all students act out and chant their parts simultaneously.

7. Give each of the students a tree cookie. Ask them to identify the bark, sapwood, and heartwood. Explain to the students that the sapwood contains the sap for maple syrup production.

8. Point out the annual rings. Have students try to count the annual rings to determine the age of the tree. Is the tree older than the student?