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Trees are a source of life. They provide food, shelter, medicine, shade, and the oxygen we breathe while also filtering the air and preventing soil erosion. Trees are the sole provider of the most commonly used building and furnishing material, and the resource most commonly used to produce paper. Society changed forever when humans learned to use trees as sources of heating and cooking fuel To this day, people all over the Earth still use wood to warm their homes and prepare their meals.
In this standards-based unit, students will discover the many ways in which we depend on trees, understand their lifecycles and requirements for healthy growth, and explore ways to mitigate pests and produce healthier crops. Students will investigate the hidden data stored in tree trunks that sheds light on historical phenomena and learn the history behind California’s tree crops. Discovering the ability to quietly reflect and listen to nature develops a sense of stewardship. Exposure to multicultural traditions and beliefs as well as figurative language related to trees will broaden students’ knowledge base and assist in a finding of common ground between diverse peoples. Career exploration, engineering skills, and artistic concepts will accompany the science, social studies, and language arts lessons.
The field trip activities will include visiting and working in an heirloom orchard, preparing fresh fruit and/or nut snacks, examining tree rings, exploring interpretive signs, participating in a tree walk, and creating birdhouses or nests.