# Deciduous Forest Biome Project Ideas

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

The deciduous forest is home to many species of trees that lose their leaves each winter. The following three projects will teach your middle school students about the many characteristics that comprise these vast woodlands.

## Why Deciduous Forest Projects?

Deciduous forests are prevalent in many countries and provide shelter to a multitude of living creatures. Students can learn more about what makes these forests special by taking part in one or all of these project ideas. In this first project, your students will learn the official tree for each of the United States and create a large mural indicating which are deciduous. In the second project, students will learn about three disastrous blights that destroyed entire American forests. In the third project, students will design their very own deciduous forests and accompanying parks. These projects are ideal for students from sixth through eighth grade.

## Official State Tree Mural Project Idea

Materials: colored markers, construction paper, Internet access, mural paper roll

Time: Several hours

• Set up the mural paper roll around the edges of your classroom.
• Let your students know they will be studying the various state trees, and then drawing them inside pictures of their respective states.
• Divide students into pairs.
• Allow them to go online to research their state tree as well as five neighboring states.
• Some of the state trees are not deciduous. Part of their assignment is to determine which state trees are deciduous.
• When students are through, have them meet back in one large group to discuss their findings.
• Ask them which is their state tree. Do they like the selection? If not, which tree would they prefer?
• Then assign a handful of states to the pairs of students. Have them draw depictions of both that particular state, as well as its accompanying state tree on construction paper.
• Take turns allowing the pairs to then draw the state and its tree on the mural paper. This can be done in alphabetical order or by region over the course of several days. Make sure students indicate which trees are deciduous.
• Lastly, have students analyze the mural and pick out all the deciduous trees.

## Three American Tree Blights Project Idea

In the 20th century, the United States of America saw three devastating deciduous tree blights that killed millions of trees. In this project, your students will study these tragic events.

Materials: Internet access

Time: 60 minutes

• Let your students know they will be studying three deciduous forest tree blights.
• Ask them if anyone knows what three trees were involved, or has even studied the blights previously. Inform them:
• The American chestnut blight was from roughly 1910 to 1950.
• The American elm blight was from roughly 1930-1977.
• The butternut blight was from roughly 1967-1995.
• Divide students into three groups. Tell them:
• Group One, you will be Team American Chestnut.
• Group Two, you will be Team American Elm.
• Group Three, you will be Team Butternut.
• Now allow them to go on the Internet or to the school library to research the topic.
• When they are through, have each ot the three groups elect a spokesperson to reveal their findings about the deciduous tree blights to the entire class.

## Design Your Own Deciduous Forest and Park Project Idea

Materials: action figures, cellophane, colored markers, construction paper, cotton balls, Internet access, paint, sand, toys, twigs

Time: 90 minutes, and then ongoing throughout the month

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