Trees in Trouble-Acorn Planting

Lesson:

Activity Description: 

Students begin with observations of acorns and discuss how to tell if they are healthy and what they need to grow.  Students then participate in a drawing activity and lengths and weights of acorns are recorded.  Additonal activities allow students to evaluate how environmental factors impact acorn health and ability to grow.

Objective: 

Students will learn what an acorn is, factors (such as sufficient space, light, water, and soil) necessary for growth, and how acorns can be damaged by insects and desiccation. 

Pre-Activity Prep: 

Collect enough acorns (at least 100 for a class of 30 students) so that each student can have an opportunity to complete these activities. Harvest or collect acorns from healthy trees during the months of August-October. Choose acorns that are greenish-brown, firm, and plump. Include a few that are damaged or appear to have insect holes. Set aside at least one acorn per student to be used for Part C. Rinse the acorns and store them in a plastic bag in a cool place (or refrigerate).

Doing the Activity: 

The activity can be found on Page 2 of the PDF linked below.

Materials: 
  • 100+ acorns
  • 4-gal. potting soil
  • 3 plastic flower pots (very clean)
  • Kitchen scales
  • Plastic bags
Time: 
2-3 Class Periods
Source: 
California Oak Mortality Task Force, www.suddenoakdeath.org