This week we have been focusing on trees when we've been out and about. We started by trying our hand at some bark rubbings.
Tree bark varies wildly between species of trees, and taking a rubbing is a great way to focus on the different patterns and textures, as well as making a record of a particular tree's bark. The process itself is super simple. We used waxed crayons and plain white paper, and used the side of the crayon to take our prints. We found working up and down the page worked best for us.
Just like our skin, bark’s main purpose is to protect the tree. While the children made their rubbings, we talked about the properties of the bark, and how they might be beneficial to the tree. The kids concluded that the bark looked like Armour since it was so thick and rugged on many of the trees we looked at. They were also interested to see how many other plants used the bark for their own benefit - we found both Ivy and Lichens growing on the trees we examined.
The kids decided that they wanted to start a tree scrapbook to record the trees we looked at. Now seems a great time of year to start one, as we were able to photograph each tree without its leaves - giving us a great picture of it's overall shape. As we move through the seasons we'll be able to add pictures of the different stages of the tree's yearly cycle; we will come back and record their buds, flowers and different leaf colours. The kids really enjoyed identifying our trees using a reference book, and quickly picked up some of the terminology in tree identification.
By carrying out this process of physically examining a tree close up, making a record of what they saw through the bark rubbings and photographs, and then by collating their information in their scrapbook, the kids have really have developed a greater knowledge and interest in trees this week. They can now identify 3 or 4 trees confidently from their shape and bark alone, and love, in particular, pointing out the beautiful oak trees that we see dotted about in our area of the country as we drive around.