Keywords: veneer, phloem, xylem, cambium, heartwood, springwood, summerwood, annual ring; Grade Level: intermediate; Lesson Time: two 45-minute class periods; Setting: forest and classroom


  • The students will know the parts of a tree trunk.
  • The students will build a tree trunk with all its parts.
  • The students will make an art project covered with a pseudo veneer.


  • Model Magic
  • paint (tempera)
  • Trees + Me = Forestry booklet
  • a toilet paper or paper towel tube
  • clear wrap (handiwrap)
  • cheese cutter

Subjects Covered: science, math, and art

Science Standards: Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources (4.2); Ecosystems and Their Interactions (4.6); Threatened, Endangered and Extinct Species (4.7); Humans and the Environment (4.9)


The teacher will need to buy Model Magic and paint. Then the teacher needs to mix paint with the model magic to create the following colors:

  • red = heartwood
  • white = springwood
  • tan = summerwood
  • brown = bark


  1. The students will learn the parts of a tree trunk using the Trees + Me = Forestry booklets. They will also learn what each part of the trunk does.
  2. After learning the parts, they will build a log. Using the red Model Magic they should roll a 1-inch diameter, 6-inch long rope, which will represent the heartwood.
  3. Next they will roll out the white Model Magic. This will be the springwood and will be wrapped around the heartwood one time.
  4. Then the students will roll out the tan Model Magic. This layer should be thinner than the white and it is the summerwood. It is then wrapped around the springwood. The springwood and the summerwood equal one annual ring of the tree. The students will continue making annual rings, remembering to vary the thicknesses.
  5. After they have completed making their annual rings, they are to wrap one layer of clear wrap around the last tree ring. This is the cambium.
  6. The last part to be constructed is the bark. Students may want to texture the outside of the bark using their pencils.
  7. After the log is constructed, the students are to make transverse cuts on each end of the log using a cheese cutter.
  8. The students can use these to share to guess the ages of each other's log.
  9. After using the log for math activities, the students can cut the log lengthwise into thin strips.
  10. The students can glue these veneer strips around the toilet tubes to make a vase.


The finished product is the assessment.


Math activities include radius, diameter, volume, and board feet measurements.


Hansen, Robert S. (1996). Trees + Me = Forestry . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Smith, Sanford, Roy Adams, and Anni Davenport (2000). From the Woods: Hardwood Lumber . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.


Dennis G. Hahn, fifth grade teacher, Bushkill Elementary School, Nazareth Area School District