Parts of a Tree Trunk, Alison’s Montessori

  • Botany, 3-9
Parts of a Tree Trunk Puzzle, Alison’s Montessori

“There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees which speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving.”

~From Childhood to Adolescence, Dr. Montessori~

The children, excited to label a real tree
  • Why should children learn about the tree trunk parts? Trees are pretty amazing. In part, they can inform us on climatic history. Dendrochronologists use tree rings to uncover climatic conditions of the past, and anticipate future climatic conditions such as droughts.


  • Wooden puzzle of Parts of a Tree Trunk
  • Wooden labels (medulla, heartwood, sapwood, annual ring, cortex, cambium layers, rays, bark)
  • Control chart for the puzzle
  • Set of nomenclature cards (3-6, 6-9)
  • a booklet describing all parts
  • 9 description cards labeled, 9 picture card unlabeled, 9 description cards unlabeled, 9 picture cards labeled, 18 labels for the unlabeled cards.
  • Control chart for the nomenclature cards
  • Blackline Master copy to color and label
Puzzle and Nomenclature Cards

Why we like it

  • The material helps us keep our knowledge sharp, and our interest for trees high. The children have developed more respect for trees from which they once used to pill bark off. They also understand why trees are Tracheophytes. They learned how to read a tree trunk when cut, and that is pretty cool.
  • Since we learned about the functions of the parts of a tree trunk, our relationship with trees will never be the same. When walking by a tree, the children can’t help but notice cracked on the trunk, cut branches, and bark patterns. Questions follow: is this tree dead? Is this the cambium in the crack? What happened? Why…

How we used them

  • We had heard trees were freshly cut around the community, so with my 2 boys, we went on a freshly cut trees hunt. The field trip was a great start for an authentic learning experience.
  • We took the control chart and labels, which we used on a tree trunk of our choice. We evidently found all the parts represented on the chart
Labeling a real tree trunk, freshly cut
  • On our way back home, we found a tree remains (see picture above). This hollow tree had us think of the process of decomposition. The heartwood and the sapwood were long gone first, while the outer layer near the cambium seemed to have resisted time. We collected samples of trees to take home for further observation.
  • Our lesson went on at home where we worked with the nomenclature cards, and colored and labed our blackline diagram. It helps the children internalize the knowledge a bit more. They know repetition is key so the work will be available on the shelf.
Puzzle with Wooden Labels and Control Chart
  • The nomenclature work is a good way for the child to manipulate the learning content. They read the booklet, and try to reconnect pictures with labels and definitions. They understand that the vocabulary is scientific, and therefore benefitial for their growing minds. They also know that nomenclature cards offer a way to organize knowledge, and to self-assess, which promotes self-directedness.
  • In the meantime, we are keeping an eye on our surroundings, searching for apparent tree trunks. You can have the children research the work of dendrochronologists, which is fascinating. They can also research the oldest known tree in the world!
Children can observe a tree trunk during the holidays season

I hope this review provided you a good insight of the materials. This experience has been made possible thanks to Alison’s Montessori for trusting us with the materials at no cost. I write unbiased honest review, because I only review what works for us!

We had plenty of contact with freshly cut trees
  • Ready for a lesson? If you would like to stay in touch and receive notifications for the reviews, please follow. Don’t miss the next reviews on Parts of the E-coli Bacteria and Parts of the Atmosphere!

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