Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Unfolding Outward From a Quercus Alba ~ the interconnections of a Pennsylvania forest

Every year we are asked to place something on a table and/or wall to celebrate learning in our classroom. So last week, my students entered my room to see Quercus alba written in the center of a large piece of paper. I told them I had an idea. I told them it wasn't that clear.
And so it happened. We discovered the ecology of a forest in Pennsylvania.
I said ~ Tell me organisms that connect with White Oaks.
They began to tell me things ~ Humans, and many others eat the acorns. Gypsy Moths eat their leaves. Great Blue Herons nest in them. And the forest unfolded.
What shelters? What eats? What parasitizes? What competes?
I would say ~ choose this or that organism? Find me five connections.
If they told me something general like, frogs, then In most cases I would tell them to find me one living in Pennsylvania. If I wanted a connection between two organisms, I told them to search one out. We discovered new organisms and strange connectors.
I need to do this again.



  1. the arrows on the paper look like the white oak's branches.

  2. Gee, no wonder those oaks are mighty trees. They are so well-connected!

  3. Great project! We owe a lot to the great oak!

  4. I love it when spontaneous thoughts take off like that. Fun stuff!


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