Take a Walk in the Virtual Forest
Identify trees in your own region Age Range: 5-10, 11-13, 14-18 Time Required: 30 mins - 2 hours Keywords: Forests, Trees, Plants, Animals, Writing, Virtual Field Trip, Video
Background Leaves, twigs and bark can help you identify trees. Scientists must be able to identify trees to understand the relationship between specific plants and animals in an ecosystem. As a dendrologist (a person who studies trees or plants) you will identify several trees from their leaves using a dichotomous key. Then you will determine the forest type based on the trees that make up the forest. Ready? Lets get started. Just go to the website How Can I Identify a Tree? http://nationalzoo.si.edu/education/conservationcentral/walk/walk4_broadband.html For teachers: Visit http://nationalzoo.si.edu/education/conservationcentral/teacher/default.cfm to use Finding Common Ground, an online curriculum that helps students make informed decisions to conserve temperate forests in central China, habitat of the endangered giant panda, and in the United States. Through classroom activities, online simulations, and field investigations, students learn about the important role that temperate forests play in local and global ecosystems. Action steps culminate in a class conservation action plan.
Be a Museum Expert! Collect a leaf from your schoolyard or backyard and try using the online dichotomous key at Virginia Tech Tree ID Key (http://www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/idit.htm). Were you able to successfully identify your tree? What did you come up with? Email the results to a classmate or your ePal and see what type of tree they discovered.
Write About It! Share what you have learned about trees and forests with students from around the world by visiting the student forums at ePals and posting a response to the following questions: Which one of these four types of temperate forests do you live in or neartemperate deciduous, evergreen or coniferous, mixed, or temperate rainforest? How do you know? What types of trees, plants and animals can you find in the forests near your home? http://www.epals.com/forums/t/31163.aspx
Make a Video! Download ePals Field Trip Video Guidelines. Visit a forest, or treed area in your community. Create a 5-minute video, describing this habitat and its plant and animal life. Explain what is unique about this area. See a completed field trip video here.
Share It! Share your work with classrooms around the world. Upload your Field Trip video or photos of your local woods or forests to ePals Student Media Gallery. Be sure to include a good description, including the type of forest, names of plants or animals.