February: Maple Sugaring
Show the pictures of a magnolia bud. The photo on the left is of a magnolia bud that is just starting to flower. The photo on the right is of a bud that is completely closed.
Ask students about it: What is it? What do you think is inside? Open the bud to reveal the curled green flower inside. What does it need in order to open in the spring? Bud food – we call this sap. What is sap? Sap is the water that is taken in by the roots mixed with the sugar that was stored in the cells during the cold winter months. Sap begins to flow when nighttime temperatures drop below freezing, followed by days that warm up to above the freezing point (32 degrees). Sugar is actually stored throughout the tree in the sapwood, or part of the trunk where water flows upward from the roots.
Maple Sugaring is the process of collecting the sap, boiling it down (getting rid of the extra water) and making it into syrup that we all know and love!
- Make maple butter with your kids - http://homecooking.about.com/od/dairyrecipes/r/bldairy41.htm
- Make your own maple seed helicopter game: http://www.kodeescanoe.com/craft-maple-seed-helicopters/
- Pancake Breakfast: Bundle up and enjoy this annual celebration of the maple tree’s sweet offerings. Join one of our ongoing tours to discover how sap is turned into syrup, and try your hand at tapping a tree. Then, satisfy your appetite in the historic barn with our famous all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast. Hot coffee and cocoa accompany this delicious wintertime feast.
- http://www.readinga-z.com/book.php?id=1459 – printable book called We Make Maple Syrup
- http://www.metroparks.com/Multimedia/www.metroparks.com/Files/Maple%20Sugaring%20pk%20through%202nd.pdf – unit on Maple Sugaring for preK – 2nd grades
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