Most people may see a tree or bush from their window. What type is it? Who might have planted it? Who cares for it? If you can, go for a closer inspection - has anyone cut any branches from it. Why? What might they damage?
Are trees all good - can they sometimes cause problems (discuss falling branches, subsidence or even when people wrap nets round trees to prevent birds or mess. What’s their view on this?). Have a discussion about the potted, planted and pruned environment around you, even if this is just a window box or herbs! Is there a label on the plant; where was it grown? Many of our plants come from round the world! You might link to some of these plant videos and resources from BBC Teach.
Take Care of Our Terrific Trees!
First: Ask your child to think of any trees they know of. What are trees for? Do you notice them at different times of the year? Which is your favourite? Go on a favourite tree hunt in a local park. Maybe you have a significant landmark tree? Check on the Ancient Tree Hunt website. Have you got one as big as Barney the tree?
Then: Print out some of the maps from the website Stamen Maps Watercolour based on where you live or somewhere you know well. See how much green is there. Could you paint a version of this map and add labels? This uses Google Maps but removes all the detail producing a view of where you live (or anywhere else) showing all the water and green spaces.
Follow-Up: Consider how this links to the science curriculum and use a BBC clip like this one which looks at the English Oak and its lifecycle. Consider some of the language used on the Woodland Trust website and some of their printable resources to help teach about this signature tree of the English landscape. Not many of us are lucky enough to have these on our doorsteps!
There are lots of children’s books where the tree is a magical element and form a doorway into another world. Think of one you know, one you have on your shelf or consider Use the ideas from the Eden Project here online and here about the ten native trees you could spot or even plant!
Why is this geography?
The curriculum asks us to “use basic geographical vocabulary...use simple fieldwork and observational skills” and trees are often one of the oldest, most significant and overlooked aspects of our natural, physical environments. With climate change, these trees are particularly prone to disease and hotter weather. At KS2 we are asked to “observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features” so drawing, estimating height are all helpful guides. It teaches us to value these for their shade, ability to cool the air and absorb pollution and generally make a place look better. At least that’s what I think.