Teaching Life Science Through Children’s Literature: A Tree is Growing

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In A Tree is Growing, by Arthur Dorros, the text explains the changes that trees go through over the seasons and how big trees continue to grow and change.  It discusses how trees need sunlight, air, soil, and water to grow.  This book describes the function of the roots and the bark of the tree.   The author describes how tree branches are bare in the winter, but that they are preparing for spring as they have small buds which will become leaves.  The text also demonstrates the process of photosynthesis with a helpful pictorial example.  This children’s book provides examples of many types and shapes of leaves and explains that all leaves make food (sugar) for the tree.  Throughout the pages of this text, the author provides interesting factual information about certain types of trees.

Curriculum Connections
This text could be utilized in a variety of classrooms (kindergarten-fourth grade). The author describes how trees change as they grow and explains that bark protects the tree; when a tree is young, the bark is smooth; as it grows older, the bark become rough and cracked.  The book provides an excellent picture of the inside of the bark showing the growth rings.  It also describes how trees have no leaves in the winter, but in the spring the leaves reappear again.  In addition, it describes that trees get minerals from the soil in order to help them grow (VA SOL k.7). This text also describes the process of photosynthesis with a pictorial example demonstrating how tree leaves “breath in” carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air (VA SOL 4. 4c).

Additional Resources

  • This tree research worksheet provides students with a word bank to fill in important points of the tree life cycle.
  • This activity invites students to use their creative movement to act out the life cycle of a tree.
  • This interactive website provides children with pictures of how four different trees go from a seed to a plant.

Book: A Tree is Growing
Author: Arthur Dorros
Illustrator: S.D. Schindler
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 1997
Pages:29
Grade Range: K-4
ISBN: 0-590-45300-9