Sugar Maple Tree Observations–Part 2

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    Kristin Joivell

    After observing the sugar maple tree during the fall and winter months, my class continued their observations throughout the spring and summer months until the end of the school year.  All the while, the time lapse camera that I mounted on the trunk of the sugar maple tree pointed through the branches taking daily photos…still using the original batteries!

    As you can here on April 17, the sugar maple tree was in full bloom with buds opening to reveal new leaves and flowers.  The students were surprised at the fact that the sugar maple tree has flowers since many of them don’t think of trees as flowering plants.  They have since noticed other flowering trees around the area such as the red bud trees with their distinctive pink blooms and black locust trees with their sweet smelling white blooms.

    April 17

    Each season, the students complete a journal entry to record their observations through sketches and writing.  As you can see, the students noticed the new leaf growth and flowers.

    Spring Journal 1

    Spring Journal 2

    Spring Journal 3

    As the year continued on towards summer, the tree continued its growth.  As you can see here on May 24, the distinctive sugar maple seeds were visible over much of the tree along with darker green fuller leaves.  It’s interesting to note that students started to compare and contrast the changes in the sugar maple tree we are studying with the changes in the oak tree that is growing to the right of our sugar maple tree.  They began to notice the acorns from the oak tree and talked about the oak tree flowers that might have been on the oak tree before those seeds were formed.

    May 24

    In the students’ journals, many noted that the maple tree seeds are a lighter colored green than the darker colored fully grown leaves.  They focused on the shape of the maple tree seeds making the connection to the “helicopter” properties of them, but finding that the seeds don’t spin yet.  Some students predicted that the maple tree seeds need to be dried up and brown so that they are light enough to spin through the air.

    Summer Journal 1

    Summer Journal 2

    Summer Journal 3

    As the school year draws to an end, I am excited to use the time lapse software and daily images to create the time lapse video of the changes our sugar maple tree went through over the past 9 months.  I hope to be able to show this video to the students by the last day of this school year and also use it as a comparative study as my new class of new students continues to document the changes that the sugar maple tree goes through over the next school year.

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