|Roothie and Rootie|
Trees are the tallest living plants and, therefore, need support to stand tall. It is a common misconception that tree roots grow deep into the ground. Trees do have a main tap root that grows straight down, however, tree roots usually grow outward creating a web of roots that anchor the tree to the ground. At the tip of each root is a root cap that protects it as it is branching outward below the ground. Roots of a 165-foot tree could spread across an area the size of a football field (Eyewitness Books: Tree by David Burnie).
Tiny root hairs branch out from the roots and collect water and minerals from the ground. The water and minerals travel from the root hairs to rootlets to the main roots and eventually reach the trunk. In areas where winters can be cold, root hairs all die in the fall and resume growth in the spring.
Tree roots need oxygen. Earthworms are very important friends to tree roots as they let air into the soil while they burrow around the roots. Worms also help provide the valuable minerals tree roots collect for the tree by helping to compost dead tree leaves and organic matter.
To provide students with the opportunity to test the growth of plants in soil with plenty of oxygen and soil without.
*The Treeture characters, as learning tools, can be adapted to any grade level. For example, students in grades K-1 could utilize coloring pages, finger puppets, and collages. Stories, poems, creation of new Treeture characters, newsletters, and plays could be fun and used as mentoring projects by 5th and 6th graders for younger students. Another entertaining and educational activity is to hold a Treeture Fair. This project has been successfully implemented in several schools. Each Treeture character can be enlarged and placed on an easel on a table with an appropriate experiment or example of its tree role.Extension:
Most trees can’t live in water because tree roots need oxygen. However, tropical Mangrove trees grow in the water. They have two special types of roots that allow them to survive in the water: 1. Stilt roots curve out from the tree’s trunk and anchor the tree to the mud; 2. Breathing roots (pneumatophores) grow up out of the mud and get their much needed oxygen during low tide.