Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Tree Unit … and How to Make Leaf Prints

We have been exploring trees together recently.  Well…truth be told we are in the trees all the time.  But we have brought our exploration into the “classroom” recently and we are really excited about it.  I think this might be our first official “unit”, well at least our first “unit” with “portfolio-able” results!  I thought I would share the journey with you…not necessarily to teach others (I am really in the learning from others place still!)…but rather to learn from your comments and suggestions!  That is seriously the best part of this community.  I learn and grow so much from you all!!

We explored our little spot in the world and talked about the differences in the trees are in our yard.  Size, leaves, trunks, etc.  We went on a search to collect leaves from each of the different types of trees that surround us.  You need sticks to search properly…really!!!

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With our collection of leaves we prepared to make prints from them.  Printing is fabulous!  Printing with leaves is just marvelous!  It is beautiful, and is a wonderful way to explore the textures and patterns within the leaves.  We discussed the veins and structure of the leaves, the flow of water from the ground to the leaves, etc, while working.  Such fun! 

The process of printing is simple and repetitive…which is good for little minds.  Learning to follow specific steps to produce the desired result again and again?…yes, very good for little minds.  We printed each of the leaves (again and again and again!) in various shades of pink, and purple of course!  I have big plans with what we are going to do with these prints, and the next steps in our unit…which of course we will share soon! 

How to Make a Leaf Print

In her own words…!  Everything within parenthesis are my own inputs…perhaps unnecessary…but there for clarification nonetheless!  I just love how simple and to the point she is with her instructions…behind that face she got from her mama there’s an awful amount of her Dad in there!!

Paint it all (the leaf), and then print it.  Put in on the paper (paint side down!), then put a rag on it, then push the rag down, then we take it off, then peel the leaf, then we see what we did.  Then do it again.

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Up next…identifying our trees by their leaf prints in a forestry book, bark rubbings, ring counting, lumber yards, and wherever else our exploration takes us!