Drilling and Tapping Trees


Tubing in the Sugar Bush


Tour of the Sugar House

Maple Lesson

Sugarbush and Sugarhouse - Maple Lesson (March - April)

The Maple Lesson will allow students to learn about the process of transforming sap into syrup by visiting the CCE's sugarbush and sugarhouse. Doing so will give students the chance to learn about and engage with one of New York State's most important and well-known trees, the Sugar Maple. This hands-on learning experience will also provide students with an understanding of and appreciation for various food production and agricultural processes.

Learning Objectives:

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Explain how sap is collected from trees and made into syrup.
  2. Appreciate and understand how maple syrup is produced on both a small-scale and large-scale.
  3. Identify the parts of various trees and determine what factors make trees unique from one another.
Learning Standards: 

Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

Overview of Activities (All Ages):

This brief overview of the various activities that can be completed for this lesson is split by activity. Each activity is given a time estimate and description. For more detailed information, click here. Note that all groups will have the chance to tour the Extension Learning Farm and eat a lunch (not provided) while visiting.

Introduction to Maple (30 Minutes):

  • Maple History:
    • Students will learn about the legend of the discovery of maple and how the maple industry has evolved over time.
  • What is Maple?:
    • Students will learn to identify maple leaves, about the characteristics of maple trees, and be introduced to the process behind transforming sap into syrup through an interactive activity. Groups will also have the option to read one of the following storybooks:
      • Sugar on Snow by Nan Parson Rossiter
      • Sugarbush Spring by Marsha Wilson Chall
      • Maple Syrup from the Sugarhouse by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton

Sugarbush Tour and Experience (1.5 Hours):

  • Tour Overview:
    • Students will be given a brief overview of what they will be learning when visiting the Sugar Bush. Additionally, the students will be reminded of the rules and regulations to be followed while at the Extension Learning Farm.
  • Creating a Hypothesis:
    • Students will be given the opportunity to learn about the sap flow and the sugar content of maple trees. Then, they will predict the various factors that impact sap flow and sugar content. Their predictions will be tested as they visit and learn about the sugarbush.
  • Tapping:
    • Students will have the chance to learn about how to properly tap a maple tree for sap collection. They will learn about the various parts of the tree's trunk, and about which sections should and should not be tapped. Students will also be able to practice tapping the maple trees within the sugarbush.
  • Tubing Information:
    • Students will be shown the various types of tubing used throughout the sugarbush, and given information about their differing advantages. Additionally, students will learn about how the tubes work with gravity to collect the sap from the maple trees.
  • Sugar Content:
    • Students will be able to measure the sugar content of various types of sap using a refractometer. They will learn about how this factor can help identify trees. Additionally, students will learn about the other factors associated with tree identification and be given the chance to identify various trees.
  • Pressure:
    • Students will be able to learn how pressure and temperature impact the maple tree by learning how to read a thermometer and pressure gauge. They will learn why these two factors are so important to the sap harvesting process.
  • Environmental Obstacles:
    • Students will be able to learn about the various environmental obstacles that impact syrup production, and why these factors are important.
  • Transportation:
    • Students will be able to learn about how sap is transported from the sugarbush to the sugarhouse, and be shown the vehicles used during this process.
  • Reflection and Evaluation:
    • Students will be given the chance to reflect upon their experience and what they learned at the sugarbush through a series of questions.

Sugarhouse Tour and Experience:

  • [Coming Soon]

Additional Activities:

  • Ice Cream in a Bag (30 Minutes):
    • Students will be able to make their own ice cream, and learn about the science behind ice cream creation. Then, they will be able to top this treat with our very own maple syrup!

Click Here for a Detailed Lesson Plan of this Program!


Tamara Hill
4-H Youth & Family Team Lead
315-379-9192 ext 261

Last updated July 13, 2021