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Forestry Experiments for Kids

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

Looking for kid-friendly experiments that can be used to teach your students about forestry? The hands-on experiments found here help kids learn about the life cycle of leaves, deforestation, and the importance of climate.

What Is Forestry?

Forest ecosystems are a key part of the biosphere, providing food and protection for wildlife and an important renewable resource for people. When kids study forests, they learn how the ecosystem of a forest functions and gain an understanding of the importance of planting, conserving, managing, and extracting trees in a responsible and sustainable way.

If you are teaching your students about environmental science, renewable resources, ecology, or even economics, you may want to include a unit on forestry. Forestry is a science that focuses on the study and management of forests. The following experiments will help you create hands-on learning opportunities that will engage your students in forestry in a fun and meaningful way.

Leaf Colors

In this experiment, students extract chlorophyll from leaves to see the true color of the leaf. This experiment can serve as an introduction to a discussion on why leaves change color in the fall.

Materials:

  • Clear glass cups
  • Leaves collected from different trees
  • Coffee filters (cut into strips)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Science journals

Instructions:

  • Divide your students into groups of 3-4.
  • Give each group several different leaves, a cup for each leaf, coffee filters, and rubbing alcohol.
  • Students rip or cut up each leaf and place it in one of the glass cups. Make sure that they label each cup to indicate what type of tree the leaf came from. Have your students pour rubbing alcohol over the leaves. Let the leaves sit in the alcohol overnight.
  • Return to the leaves the next day. Place a strip of coffee filter in each cup to soak up some of the alcohol.
  • Have your students examine the coffee filters and record their observations in a science journal.

Discussion Questions

  • Why does the rubbing alcohol change color?
  • What will happen to each leaf once fall comes? What color will the leaves turn?

Deforestation Demonstration

In this experiment, students learn how plants affect the soil in a forest.

Materials:

  • One flower pot with just soil
  • One flower pot with soils and several plants
  • Two clear plastic tubs
  • Measuring cup
  • Science journals

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