Chesnut Changers Learn the Science of Fall Colors

At our first Ecology Club meeting, Chesnut Changers were nature detectives, going on outdoor scavenger hunts. The fourth and fifth graders had leaf guides they used to identify the trees growing around our school. To prepare for our outdoor exploration, we reviewed these tree trivia facts. See if your student can tell you these answers.

Even adults might be surprised by the answer to number 6…

1. Why do we need trees to survive?

A: To make its food, trees take in carbon dioxide and put out oxygen. The more trees around your house or school, the more oxygen-rich air for you to breathe!

2. The tree trunk passes water from the roots up to the leaves. Leaves collect the sun’s energy and use it to make tree food out of water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air. Trees also put water into the air, where it becomes rain. What is this process called?

A: Photosynthesis

3. What is a tiny new tree called?

A: Seedling

4. What is a young thin tree called?

A: Sapling

5. Broad-leafed trees are deciduous, what does that mean?

A: They lose their leaves every fall and grow new leaves every spring.

6. Why do leaves change colors in the fall?

A: The color was always there, but the green that comes from chlorophyll was hiding it. As the days become shorter and cooler, the tree stops growing. As it slows down and stops photosynthesis, chlorophyll goes away, and the other leaf colors can be seen.

7. What are trees called that keep their needle-shaped leaves all year long, staying green even in the winter?

A:  Evergreen, or conifer, because they have what? Cones!

8. How can you tell how old a cut down tree was?

A: Count the rings of the exposed stump. A tree adds a new ring every year.

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