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Let's take a photographic hike through the woods to celebrate Arbor day.

What kind of trees might we see? (For more information, the links go to previous posts at Growing with Science).

We might see pine trees. Pine trees are conifers. They have needle-like leaves and cones.

Spruce trees also have needle-like leaves and cones.

Hemlocks have tiny cones.

Is this a conifer?

Turns out that although it has broad leaves, this gingko is a gymnosperm so it is a member of the conifer group!

The other major group is the broadleaf trees or angiosperms.

They have flat leaves like this silver maple. Angiosprems have flowers.

The seeds come in different shapes. These are red maple keys.

Acorns are the seeds of oak trees.

Hickory nuts are seeds from a shagbark hickory.

Here in Arizona we have some lovely trees with yellow flowers and green bark called palo verdes.

Palo verde seeds form in pods.

We could go on and on, but our feet are getting tired. If you want to learn more about trees:

To my followers:

Sorry for the inconvenience, but if you have been subscribing to Growing with Science via Feedburner, they are no longer going to send email updates after July (announcement).

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(Public domain image from Wikimedia)

The 17-year cicadas are incredible insects that emerge in mass numbers after spending 17 years underground. In late April to early May 2021, scientists expect a large emergence (called Brood X) in the Eastern and Midwestern United States. To coincide with this amazing natural event is the emergence of a new picture book The Cicadas Are Coming!: Invasion of the Periodical Cicadas! by Doug Wechsler (releasing April 26, 2021).

Ever wonder where the periodical cicadas come from and what they are doing? Step by step, this book supplies the answers.

We have featured Doug Wechsler's book, The Hidden Life of a Toad in a previous post, so we knew to expect fabulous photography, detailed life cycles, and accurate information.

The Cicadas Are Coming! exceeds our expectations. He has captured every detail of the cicadas' life cycle through photographs. He must have spent many, many hours to explore each life stage -- inside and out -- so thoroughly. The photographs are so amazing that the text seems hardly needed.

But don't ignore the text. Wechsler explains the life of cicadas in an engaging way.  He also includes fun fact sidebars to keep young readers turning pages. Did you know that a cicada's ears are on its abdomen?

The back matter includes many more facts, a glossary, and resources for finding out more.

All in all The Cicadas Are Coming! is perfect for nature lovers and curious scientists of all ages. Break out a copy today!

Related Activity Suggestions:

1. Visit Doug Wechsler's website for more fantastic nature photographs.

2. Explore how a cicada makes sounds.

Do you see the flap called the tymbal that acts sort of like a drum head? That tiny structure allows the male cicada to generate an extremely loud noise.

Make a model using a tin can and a balloon (instructions in this previous post, Activity 4)

3. Dissect a cicada exoskeleton

Have you ever seen a cicada nymph exoskeleton on a tree trunk or the side of a building?

Look at it closely and you can see many features of the insect, from the claws on the front legs -- that it uses to dig with -- to the silvery strands inside that are the remnants of its breathing tubes (trachea). See if you can find the poky beak of a mouth (often directed down between the legs), the eyes, and the pads on it's back where the wings formed.

If you have one available, examine it under a microscope.

For more, check out our previous cicada posts.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Reading age: 6 - 9 years
Publisher: Doug Wechsler (April 26, 2021)
ISBN-10: 1737021714
ISBN-13: 978-1737021711

Disclosure: This book was provided electronically by the author for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books. Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.