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Solve The Case of The Sleeping Trees (Interactive!)

"The Case of The Sleeping Trees Art" Pictured is an orange tree with falling leaves.


NGSS Standards:


5-LS1-1, 3-LS3-2

Crosscutting Concepts:

Energy and Matter, Cause and Effect

Why do some trees go dormant? You’ll discover the answer for yourself in this interactive episode, with the help of tree scientist Nalini Nadkarni! Nalini has loved trees since she was little, and dreamed of inventing a special tree microphone to ask them questions. But she found the scientific process was a way to get answers, no special equipment needed. Nalini will guide you through making observations, asking questions, and discovering why trees shut down for the winter.


In the episode, we ask you to look at or imagine different types of trees. These images are here to help you make observations.

As you look at them, think about these questions from the episode:

What do you notice about the kinds of trees that drop their leaves, and the ones that don’t?

What are their CHARACTERISTICS - the things that make them unique and special?

Do you see any patterns?

A tree with orange leaves
Pine trees in a snowy location
A green leaf

A red leaf

Pine needles with dew on them

Pine tree branch

Snowy evergreen tree

Need more material to consider? Feel free to look up additional photos on your own, or with the help of a parent! Google "deciduous trees" and "conifer" or "evergreen trees."


Not kidding, Nalini Nadkarni is AMAZING. Her energy and enthusiasm for sharing her love of trees blew us away! She's a true inspiration. We loved this video from NPR that showcases her tree climbing skills and her invention, Treetop Barbie.

Read more about Treetop Barbie and its journey to become a real doll!

Nalini is not only passionate about science outreach to kids, she also teaches science to prison inmates. Here's why:


From a few of our favorite Science YouTubers:


We get a lot of questions about trees! Here's a few more videos that will ignite your curiosity about common tree questions.

24 Best Books About Trees and Nature

The Secret Lives of Trees - Brain Pickings


Did you enjoy the interactive format of this episode? We made a whole audio course just like it! Check out Tumble's The Wildlife of Your Home on Himalaya Learning.

Email us at if you're a teacher curious about getting access to the course for your class.

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