Do Trees Really Die in the Wintertime?
An Internet Web quest for 3rd grade. By Anthony DelCotto and Julie Saccente
Introduction: All summer, with the long hours of sunlight and a good supply of liquid water, plants are busy making and storing food, and growing. But what about wintertime? The winter months are cold and the ground is frozen. Do the trees that look bare actually die or is something else at work? Have you noticed anything different about the trees as they prepare for winter?
List some ideas about how trees may prepare for winter: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Trees in the summer are bright green and look very lush. For months and months the warm temperatures and abundant rainfall create a wonderful environment for the tree to prosper. In the fall, the leaves miraculously change their color. Why does this happen? We need to find out how and why this green leaf
begins to change color! During autumn, green
leaves like this begin to look like this:
Task: It is September and you are a tree that needs to begin to prepare for winter. You notice that many other trees start to change color. You want to do this as well, but are unsure as to what processes will be involved to change the color of your leaves. In order to find out, please research the following questions to determine why leaves change color:
· Why do leaves have a green color?
· What factors are involved in changing the color of a leaf?
· What processes inside the leaf breakdown in the fall?
· What kinds of trees lose their leaves in the wintertime?
· What process does a plant use to make food?
· When you have finished researching about trees and why they change color, let the teacher know you are ready to begin the next exercise.
These are websites that you should use to complete the task above:
Look for the movie “Why Leaves Change Color”
Conclusion: Once the task is completed you will understand why trees prepare for winter. You will understand the processes involved and the factors that cause a tree to change the color of and lose its leaves. You will also have a better understanding of the complexities involved within the chemical actions of a leaf. Lastly, you will know whether or not a tree is alive or not in wintertime.
As a follow up activity, here is a project that can show students that green leaves have certain “ingredients” in them that help the leaves change color.
PROJECT - Separate Colors in a Green Leaf using Chromatography
NOTE: Only the teacher should be handling the hot water and alcohol.
What you need:
leaves, small jars (baby food jars work well)
covers for jars or aluminum foil or plastic wrap
rubbing alcohol, paper coffee filters
shallow pan, hot tap water, tape, pen
plastic knife or spoon, clock or timer.
What you do:
Conclusion: Once the project is completed you will know what color your leaves will turn to prepare for winter.
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