The natural changes in nature over time, whether shown in plants and trees or in pond creatures such as tadpoles and dragonfly larvae, excite middle school youth and make them curious to learn more. The activities in Exploring Trees and Ponds are designed to build on this fascination and provide for youth ages 10–14 to become more closely connected to the natural world.
Available for free as downloadable PDFs, these activities provide a structure for youth in out-of-school programs to carry out long-term observations of natural objects. This project uses a qualitative approach, where changes over time are studied, recorded (by youth through writing, drawing, and digital photography), and discussed.
The activities can be used as the experiential base for more in-depth investigations of environmental problems or the more formal study of biological principles.
These Activities, which can take place over a short or extended period of time, are available as downloadable PDFs. They fall into three categories: fall tree activities, spring tree activities, and pond activities.