Learning about the changing seasons is part of Science.A fun way to experience the seasons is to take your students outside into the schoolyard.When students actually experience concepts, they learn and remember much more than do when they just talk about them.The Four Seasons Tree activity can be used with students of any age who are learning about seasonal changes.
Begin this activity when students first start back to school, while it is still summer.First talk with the children about the signs of summer.Then go outside into your schoolyard and find the deciduous tree that is the closest to your classroom.Take a picture of your class standing in front of the tree.Then have the students sketch the tree in summer, or take the class back inside and do a summer tree art activity.One such activity might be making summer trees collages like those done by Eric Carle.Students would begin by painting papers in a variety of colors (e.g. blues, greens, browns, yellows).After these papers had dried, students would draw and cut out the objects in a summer scene, (a brown trunk, brown branches, green leaves, etc.).These shapes could then be glued onto white drawing paper. Display the photo of the students with the tree along with their drawings/artwork on a bulletin board.
When it is fall, after the leaves have changed color but before they have all fallen, take the students outside to the same tree.Again, take a picture and have students sketch the tree or return to the classroom for a fall tree art activity such as leaf printing using real leaves and fall colored tempera paint. (See picture.)Exhibit the artwork and photos on a bulletin board.
In the winter, return with the students to the same tree for another picture.Either have students quickly sketch the tree or return to the classroom for a winter tree art activity.One idea is to have students cut a tree from brown construction paper and glue it on black/dark blue construction paper.Then allow students to use white tempera paint and large paintbrushes to dab on ‘snow’.Put the pictures and the tree photograph on display.
In the spring, take the students outside to the tree for a final photo.Ask students to draw the tree in spring or take them back to the class for a planned spring tree art activity such as making a plasticine art picture, like Barbara Reid does, using small a paper plate or plastic lids for a backing.Again display the artwork and the photo.
In May or June, the four tree photographs can be displayed with the caption “The Four Seasons”.