During Spring, teachers have a variety of activities to use, increasing in order of difficulty.

See links for further images and information to supplement the activities.

Ask the students to observe an oak tree in the field. Note which of the spring phenological developments have occurred in buds on the tree: greening of the buds, bud burst and leaf unfolding (see the paper by Kuster et al 2014 for reference images). Are there any signs of insect damage on the buds and leaves?

Observe bud burst in the classroom: The teacher brings a branch into the classroom before bud burst, place in water and observe for several days. Ask students to draw the opening buds. Generate discussion as to why the buds open sooner than in the field.

Survey of ground flora species (plant life) using quadrats or transects in the tree canopy area; emergence time of different species. Compare with other locations/countries. Fields Studies Council identification chart for woodland flowers

Calculate mean growth rate of the main shoot. The shoot closest to the tip is defined as the potential main shoot. Shoot length is defined as distance from the last terminal bud to the newly formed bud. Students measure this on a weekly basis following bud burst for a defined period e.g. one month.

Produce a time lapse video of bud burst or leaf unfolding. There are lots of apps that allow you to create a time lapse video using a smartphone. Students could film (with the power lead attached) inside the classroom observing the branch in water. Alternatively, students photograph or draw the same twig at regular intervals and make a video slideshow (for example, with Movavi).

Design an experiment to calculate the phenological stage for that tree (defined as >50% of the buds of a tree have reached the respective stage). Compare phenological stage for different locations/countries and suggest reasons for the observed differences.

Other ideas for year-round observation

Students select a live twig on a particular tree to label, allowing them to return and observe the same twig each season.

Students remove a bud from a tree every 2 months; buds are carefully dried and, once the collection is complete, arranged chronologically and displayed on a board.

 

Photo: Spring Oak Tree By Dcrjsr – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10409040

Country

United Kingdom

Language

English

Proposing teachers

Levels

Upper primaryEarly secondary

Type of activity

Observation, mathematics, art, science, experiment design

Key competences

Critical thinkingCreativityCollaboration

List of species

Oak

Software needed

AppGeomapOther: Other

Activity Files

Activity Urls

Had been tested?

Yes

Email and contact

janet.georgeson@plymouth.ac.uk

Time required

Varied activities for lessons over Spring

Spring, teachers have a variety of activities to use, increasing in order of difficulty. See links for further images and information to supplement the activities. Ask the students to observe an oak tree in the field. Note which of the spring phenological developments have occurred in buds on the tree: greening of the buds, bud burst and leaf unfolding (see the paper by Kuster et al 2014 for reference images). Are there any signs of insect damage on the buds and leaves? Observe bud burst in the classroom: The teacher brings a branch into the classroom before bud burst, place in water and observe for several days. Ask students to draw the opening buds. Generate discussion as to why the buds open sooner than in the field. Survey of ground flora species (plant life) using quadrats or transects in the tree canopy area; emergence time of different species. Compare with other locations/countries. Fields Studies Council identification chart for woodland flowers Calculate mean growth rate of the main shoot. The shoot closest to the tip is defined as the potential main shoot. Shoot length is defined as distance from the last terminal bud to the newly formed bud. Students measure this on a weekly basis following bud burst for a defined period e.g. one month. Produce a time lapse video of bud burst or leaf unfolding. There are lots of apps that allow you to create a time lapse video using a smartphone. Students could film (with the power lead attached) inside the classroom observing the branch in water. Alternatively, students photograph or draw the same twig at regular intervals and make a video slideshow (for example, with Movavi). Design an experiment to calculate the phenological stage for that tree (defined as >50% of the buds of a tree have reached the respective stage). Compare phenological stage for different locations/countries and suggest reasons for the observed differences. Other ideas for year-round observation Students select a live twig on a particular tree to label, allowing them to return and observe the same twig each season. Students remove a bud from a tree every 2 months; buds are carefully dried and, once the collection is complete, arranged chronologically and displayed on a board.   Photo: Spring Oak Tree By Dcrjsr - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10409040 &country=United Kingdom &teachers= &students=Upper primary, Early secondary, &language=English &key_competences=Critical thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, &type_of_activity=Observation, mathematics, art, science, experiment design &key_competences=Critical thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, &software=App, Geomap, Other: Other, &species=Oak, &impact= &title=Oak activities for Spring &files1=https://www.phenologit.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Oak-activities-for-Spring.docx &files2= &files3= &urls1=https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3933646/ &urls2=https://www.field-studies-council.org/publications/pubs/woodland-plants-identification-chart.aspx &urls3=https://www.mobiography.net/tutorials/iphone-time-lapse/ &tested=Yes &email=janet.georgeson@plymouth.ac.uk ">Download as PDF

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