Literary Activity: The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree

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Gibbons, Gail, 1984, The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree, Harcourt, Inc. In-Class Activity
  • Read Gail Gibbons' The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1984.) to the class. While reading, point out how the tree changes throughout the year.
  • Discuss how Arnold's apple tree changed from season to season, and have the students share what they have noticed about how trees grow and change over the course of the year. They can talk about processes of leaves growing, changing color and falling, pollination, or how they interact with trees, such as building tree houses, climbing them, picking apples, etc.
    • Touch on the process of pollination, as it is a topic that comes up in the book and is crucial to understanding how apples grow.
    • Discuss the differences between deciduous and evergreen trees.
Homework Activity
  • When the students go home, they will find a tree and draw a picture of it. They will list what they observe about the tree, such as whether it has leaves or needles, if it has any fruit or blossoms growing, what the bark looks like, if it is wide or skinny, etc. They should also do a bark rubbing and a leaf/needle rubbing.
  • When the students come back to class the next day, they will work in pairs to find out what kinds of trees they found. They can research through books, encyclopedias, the internet, etc. to identify the types of trees and to gather more information about them, such as where they can be found and how they change throughout the year. Then they will share their findings with the rest of the class.
  • The class will keep track of the characteristics of trees and then classify them: Which types of trees have leaves? Needles? Fruit? Pinecones? Thick bark? Thin bark? Where do certain kinds of trees grow? Based on these conclusions, research some more trees and determine how well the criteria developed for certain types of trees apply.
Bloom's Taxonomy
Knowledge: Students discuss what they have previously noticed about how trees grow and change throughout the year, and ways that they and others interact with them.
Comprehension: Students use their understanding of new vocabulary (deciduous, evergreen, pollination, etc.) and characteristics of trees to illustrate a picture of a tree that they find and describe it.
Application: Students use the information they gather (characteristics of a tree) to identify the type of tree that they found.
Analysis: Students relate their findings to the makeup of a tree and make conclusions about types of trees.
Synthesis: Students use their findings to present what they researched to the class.
Evaluation: Determine how well the criteria that students develop for different types of trees apply.
This literary activity relates to An Inside Look at Apples!
a BES literature connection
Produced by students in Biology in Elementary Schools, a Saint Michael's College class.
Other resources can be found at the Biology in Elementary Schools home page