With all the leaves gone, the bark of a tree is much easier to see and study during the winter months. Plus, this outer covering is an amazing subject to explore with your senses! Bark is beautiful to look at, interesting to touch, and earthy to smell.
The tree bark that we see is known as the outer bark. It cover and protects the inner workings of the tree from freezing and from insect-invasions. The bark also helps to keep the needed moisture in the tree and the excess rain out. In short the bark acts like a skin for the tree.
Each type of tree has its own unique pattern of bark. Some us smooth, some is bumpy, and some is papery. Because of these differences, you can use the outer bark as a way of identifying a tree. This bark is constantly renewed, which means that there will be subtle changes over the life of the tree, so keep an eye on those trees in your backyard and watch them grow up with you!
Fun Fact – Tiny slits in the bark, called lenticels, allow the tree to breathe!
Teaching Science at Home
Want to learn more about tree bark? Check out the following articles:
- Tree Anatomy – Learn more about the anatomy of a tree in this article from the Arbor Day website.
- Tree Bark – Read about tree bark in this article from Trees for Life.
- Why do trees have bark? – Highlights for kids answers this question in this short, but informative article.
Related Homeschool Science Activities
Keep the learning going with these science activities!
- Bark Journal – Have the students make a rubbing of the bark of the trees near your home. Identify each one and then use the sheets to create a bark journal of your local trees.
- Planter – Feature the beauty of bark in your garden with this tree stump planter.