Lesson: Biological Succession and Tree Identification Course: Ag I and II
Unit: Tree Identification
Prepared By: J. Ince and John Bowman Estimated Time Required: 5 days
Terminal Learning Objective:
Given a classroom instruction, students will be able to differentiate between
primary and secondary succession on a laboratory worksheet with 80% accuracy.
1) Identify different species of trees by sight, using leaf and bark
2) Investigate different species of trees using the “Forest Trees of Virginia”
3) Know how to us available World Wide Web resources to help ID trees and
4) Differentiate between primary and secondary succession and the types of
plants that each involve.
1) Forest Trees of Virginia: Virginia Department of Forestry available from
VDOF website http://www.dof.virginia.gov/website/index-online-store.shtml
2) Website: http://www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/idit.htm
3) Introduction to Forestry Science, 2E, L. DeVere Burton
Equipment, Supplies, Materials:
1) Worksheets for each student
2) A “Forest Trees of Virginia” handbook for each student
3) Wooden handled hammer
5) Variety of limb and leaf samples for classroom ID, focus on Leaves
Have a hammer and a baseball bat lying on a table in front of class. Ask the
students what thehammer and toolbox are made of. (Wood) Then ask what type of
wood. (Pine for the toolbox and hickory for the hammer handle) Next ask the class:
If these two trees were standing side by side in the forest how could we tell them
apart? (Leaves, bark) Then tell them that this week we are going to learn how to
identify some native trees of Virginia by observing their leaf and bark characteristics.
The students will complete a worksheets on biological succession and
regional forests, to be handed in for a grade.
Students will also be given a quiz after unit on Tree ID with 10 different trees
to be identified. The trees will be marked, and the students must work in pairs to
complete the quiz.
AG ED Task &/OR SOL(s) Addressed by This Lesson:
8006. 079 - Identify Virginia's forest trees.
8040.090 - Identify trees native to Virginia
Science BIO.9, ES.7
What I will DO and have the students DO What I want the students to KNOW
Interest Approach: See cover
-Review the last unit covered. (Water -Last week we finished our woodworking
quality) projects, and we used various types of
wood for the construction of them.
What were some of the types of
-Use a questioning and probing technique to construction materials used and
get students to list examples, and refresh what were they used for?
their memories. What does each of these have in
common? – Come from various
-Review objectives on the board -See EO’s on the cover
-Hand out a copy of “forest Trees of -The “Forest Trees of Virginia” handbook
Virginia” to each student, which they will be contains a list of 79 trees indigenous to
using throughout the lesson. Virginia, as well as, their identification
-Provide each student with a copy of the -See attachment
worksheet, which is to be completed during
the field exercise.
Lecture – Overheads Ways to ID Trees:
Leaf Orientation on branch
Activity Using Worksheet 1, identify the type for
each of the leaves that are passed around
Shapes of Leaves
Using WS1, ID shapes of same leaves.
Using WS1, ID margins on leaves.
Students will be taken out as a group to -The content of your explanations and
different trees around school, and discussions on each tree should include
questioned about the Types, Shapes, their leaf and bark characteristics, how
Arrangements and margins of the leaves. they are unique and when appropriate,
what they are used for.
-Each student will complete WS 3 -Refer to the attachment for the complete
-For the worksheet they are required to content of the worksheet and the answer
match a picture of a trees leaf with it’s key.
-The worksheet will be handed in at the end
of the period.
Activity Students are paired up. They collect at
least 10 leaves from different trees. They
place them in a plastic bag, and use tape
to label them 1-10. These will be used in
the next class period, where they will
explore alternative resources for finding
out info about trees.
Lecture/ Activity Students will meet in computer lab with
bags of leaves collected previous day.
County Acceptable Use Policy will be
explained once all are in lab.
Students use WS 2 and VT Dendrology
Website to ID trees and write key facts
about the trees.
Turn in WS2 for a participation grade with
verbal feedback about correct trees.
Forest Recovery after damage
Primary vs. Secondary
Primary – Plants and
organisms become established
in an area they did not exist
Secondary – Environment
altered/damaged – Reverting to
previous species in succession
Primary – Volcanic Eruption
destroys all life.
1. Mosses and Lichens start
2. Followed by grasses,
shrubs, weeds, bushes
3. Eventually trees repopulate
Secondary – Farm is cleared to
put into production
1. Farm allowed to return to
forest – not kept up
2. Pioneer species first appear
o Weeds, shrubs, scrub
pines etc. (Inferior
3. Dominant natural species
depending on area.
Lecture/Discussion Hardwood vs. Softwood
Hardwoods – Deciduous –
Lose leaves yearly
Softwoods – Evergreens, Have
Needles vs. Deciduous leaves
Age and rate of growth
Outdoor Lab Activity – Bus/Van trip to 5 Using worksheet 4, determine state of 5
area sites succession lab sample sites are based
upon vegetation present. Students will
turn in WS4 for a grade.
Be sure to include sites that are in
beginning stages (recently logged), middle
aged, and mature forests. Also try to
include an area affected by some sort of
natural means, i.e. glacier, earthquake,
volcano, tornado, etc.
-The content of your partial review should
include the trees key identifying
characteristics, uniqueness and
comparisons with other species.
-Refer to the worksheet attached.
Evaluation: -Grade worksheets (key attached), and
these should be returned before the test
to be used as a study guide.
-Quiz on tree ID at the end of the unit.
Students given Forest tree books
and are asked to ID 10 marked
trees on quiz. Also asked to give
leaf type, arrangement, and
Tree Identification Worksheet
_____1) Sassafras _____11) Eastern Hemlock
_____2) Sweet Gum _____12) Virginia Pine
_____3) Beech _____13) Yellow (Tulip) Poplar
_____4) Red Mulberry _____14) Hickory
_____5) White Oak _____15) White Pine
_____6) Scarlet Oak _____16) Red Maple
_____7) Post Oak _____17) Sugar Maple
_____8) Black Walnut _____18) Dogwood
_____9) American Hornbeam ______19) Redbud
_____10) Black Oak ______20) Sycamore
Tree Identification Worksheet 3
_____1) Sugar Maple _____11) Eastern Hemlock
_____2) White Pine _____12) Black Oak
_____3) Hickory _____13) Red Mulberry
_____4) Yellow (Tulip) Poplar _____14) Beech
_____5) Post Oak _____15) Sweet Gum
_____6) Dogwood _____16) American Hornbeam
_____7) White Oak _____17) Sassafras
_____8) Sycamore _____18) Scarlet Oak
_____9) Red Maple _____19) Redbud
_____10) Virginia Pine _____20) Black Walnut
Double click on Acrobat Icon to view handouts.
ID the leaf type, shape and margin for each leaf.
Type Shape Margin
Using the website given in class, ID each tree and give basic facts on it (Common and Scientific
names of tree, what type of leaves, twigs, flowers, and what the bark looks like.)
Using the chart below, determine what state of succession each site is in. In groups,
count all types of living vegetation in a 10’ x 10’ square. Estimates may be used, but must be
Amount of Vegetation Present
Site Grasses Weeds Shrubs Saplings Immature Trees Mature Trees
Based on the information above, determine whether each site is an example of Primary or Secondary
succession and explain why.