Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Lesson 9 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Botany curriculum by Jeannie Fulbright is all about "Trees."  We were excited to get to this one.  And we did a lot of extracurricular reading with it, too.
As with every lesson in this course, we used the Junior Botany Notebooking Journal to keep track of all that we were learning.  (I highly recommend it!)
We started our lesson by reading in the text about the role of trees, seed making in trees (including what masting is),  tree growth (from a seed to a seedling to a sapling), and twig anatomy (learning about terminal buds, nodes, auxiliary buds, and internodes).  In just this first little bit of reading, we had learned a lot!

From there, we read a few fun books, including A Tree Is a Plant by Clyde Robert Bulla ...
... Trees by Lisa Jane Gillespie (an Usborne book) ...
... I Can Name 50 Trees Today!  All About Trees by Bonnie Worth ...
... and The Tree Doctor by Tish Rabe.
We watched this same episode ("The Tree Doctor") on The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! Breeze from the Trees DVD.
That same episode is also on YouTube at (below).
Afterwards, we did some work in our notebooking journal.
On the second day studying this lesson, we read a few more books, including Tell Me, Tree: All About Trees for Kids by Gail Gibbons (love her books) ...
... A Tree is Growing by Arthur Dorros ...
... and Be a Friend to Trees by Patricia Lauber.
We then read in our text about how trees grow outward, about the layers in a tree trunk (learning the words heartwood, sapwood, vascular cambium, inner bark, bark, and cork), and about tree identification.

We read even more about trees in our Usborne Science with Plants book (pages 12-13).
After our reading, we pulled out our Plant Adaptations science photo cards pack to look at "Tree Sap" more closely.
Here is that card, chock full of information on the back.  (We have loved these science photo cards!)
To learn more about bark, we read the article of the same name ("Bark") out of the March 2016 issue of Ranger Rick magazine (pages 32-36).
 Here are a few images from that article.
Then, as instructed by the text, we headed outdoors to do some bark rubbings, being sure to pick different trees each time.
 We put some of these rubbings in our notebooking journal.
On Day 3 of this lesson, we read A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry ...
... and A Busy Year by Leo Lionni (which follows a tree through the different seasons).  Some of the supplementary books we read in this lesson are a little young for Mags, but she still enjoys them.  (Yet another reason I adore homeschooling is the length of time we can enjoy materials.  There are no peers to tell her something is "stupid" or "lame" or "babyish."  Homeschoolers can enjoy things longer without the pressure to conform.  Getting off my soapbox now ... )
While we completed more work in our notebooking journal, we listened to the "Beautiful Trees" song by Sid the Science Kid (found on their Sid's Backyard Campout DVD) which you can find on YouTube at (below).  We loved it!
Here is a couple more images of our notebook work.
You can't do a study of trees without taking a few minutes to read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein!  (This was my favorite book as a child.)
Here is that same story, set to animation, (on YouTube at, with Shel Silverstein himself narrating it (below).
On the final day of this lesson, we headed outdoor again.  First, we found a stump so we could figure out how old the tree was when it was cut.  (Maggie loved telling me the names of all the layers, too.)
 We counted thirty rings, nothing that some were healthier years than others.
(We recorded this in our journal once we were back inside.)
We also set out to identify some trees in our backyard using a tree identification guide.
The guide we used was this one, Native Trees of Georgia (our state) by the Georgia Forestry Commission.  I got our copy free from somewhere, but I know they sell it on Amazon (as they probably do for every state).
The first tree we set out to identify was this one Mags is standing under.
 Using its leaves to help us, we narrowed it down to this yellow poplar.
 Maggie picked this one next.
 It has very distinctive leaves.
We determined this tree is a sweetgum.
(We added our findings to our notebooking journal.)
For one last activity, we decided to do an experiment we found in our 501 Science Experiments book, #101, called "The Oldest Tree."  With this activity, we would take yarn and scissors outside to measure the trunks of two different trees of the same species to guess which might be older (or under more ideal conditions).
Here is the first one Maggie picked.
 And here is the second.  The second tree's trunk was not as wide as the first tree's (this picture is deceiving), so we can guess that either (1) Tree #1 is older, or (2) Tree #1 has more ideal conditions than Tree #2.
And that's a wrap!  Only three more lessons in this curriculum!  Check back with us because out next post for Botany is all about "Gymnosperms" (Lesson 10).


  1. I love that you still read the younger books to Maggie. This is another reason I homeschool too. I feel peers pressure kids to grow up too fast. I'm glad my kids will be child like as long as they desire and no one will make fun of that. So glad to hear yoy agree with me on that one. I remember being Maggie's age and enjoying childish things even though kids in my class had kind of moved on, but I still enjoyed being little at home. I look forward to all your new posts. Enjiying seeing your new geography curriculum and I cant believe yoy all are almost through Botany!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I, too, can't believe we are almost done! Next week will be our last week studying it! I will do a unit study on fungi afterwards, though, because this book doesn't cover mushrooms and such since they are not actually plants. Hope you're having a great summer!