All this raises a bigger question: What does it mean to be “alive?” We’ll likely get to that one, but today in morning meeting, we decided to revisit the original question and try to further examine our theories.
Rachael asks if trees are alive, using the tree in our classroom (borrowed from the entryway) as an example, and the general consensus is “no.” She then asks how we know this.
Sally: Because it doesn’t have seeds or little plants. So it can’t talk. It doesn’t have a mouth, or eyes.
Austin: Or a head. It only has one whole body.
Will: But it does have a trunk.
Jack: Did you know that trees are living things?
Rachael: How do you know that? Some friends think that they’re living. Some think that they’re not. I’m wondering why you think they’re living things.
Jack: Plants are living things too. Plants are living and trees are.
Rachael: Is there a way we can tell if a tree is living?
Jack: If they’re dead, then all the leaves fall off at once.
Rachael: So the trees outside now, the ones we can see through the window, what are those?
Kian: They don’t have leaves.
Jack: Those are cold trees.
Rachael: What does that mean? Tell me more.
Jack: That their leaves fall off.
Rachael: If they’re cold, does that mean they’re alive or dead?
Rachael: So they’re still alive even though they don’t have any leaves on them?
Jack: If they’re just cold.
Last week, Will suggested that we know trees are alive because they grow. Today in meeting, he reversed his position, saying they do not grow so they are not alive. We wanted to see what others thought.
Rachael: Do trees grow?
Rachael: How do they grow?
Jack: Water, and sunshine.
Rowan: And then they start growing.
Rachael: How do they grow?
Austin: Roots give them the water.
Kian: They only have bones.
Rachael: Where are their bones?
Kian: In the tree.
Rachael: What do tree bones look like?
Kian: they’re just like circles in the water.
Rachael: Can you tell us more?
Kian: I can’t do any more of it.
Austin: They have sawdust inside.
Rachael: Does anyone else have ideas?
Elle: When trees don’t have any leaves and they all fall off, when it’s winter time the trees are cold because they don’t have any leaves and the leaves keep them warm. And in the summertime the trees get back their leaves. And then in the fall the leaves fall down.
Rachael: After the leaves fall down, how do they know when to come back?
Elle: They come back in the summer.
Lisa: And how do they come back?
Elle: The tree grows new leaves.
Rachael: How does a tree know when to grow new leaves?
Elle: Because when they feel the sunshine and they feel hot, they know how to plant some leaves.
Rachael: I hear people saying things like the tree’s cold, the tree feels things, the tree knows things—so does that mean it’s alive or it’s still not alive?
Elle: If it’s not alive and if the branches are gone and if the tree fell down, that means it’s dead.
Lisa: So what do others think about that?
By this time—twelve minutes in—we were spent. We still aren’t sure how to test these theories about whether trees are alive and what that means. So we’ll keep exploring...
by Lisa & Rachael
Pieces of Tucker Room experiences.