Another simple, yet effective, center is observing tree bark using touch, hearing, sound, and sight. Adding in hand lenses, or magnifying glasses, is even better. The kiddos started to notice things beyond the bark – marks on the wood layer, what looks like tunnels, etc. Perfect priming for us to move into the cambium layer and xylem/phloem next week!
Last week I went outside one day after school and took pictures of the bark of several trees right around our classroom. I printed and laminated these to create a tree bark matching activity. This center is super versatile! Students can go outside in teams (with adult supervision) to try and find the tree that each picture matches. This led to some of the best conversation of the day because students were unknowingly using great description words to justify why a certain picture match a tree or not.