Rutgers Preparatory Student Treehouses

Lisa Schwartz and Valerie Pierce


Rutgers Preparatory School is a coeducational independent school founded in 1766 and located in central New Jersey.  The upper School has 325 students, all of whom take a biology course in their sophomore year.  Biology begins with biodiversity, including an emphasis on evolutionary relationships and phylogenetics.  As part of this unit, students write a creative short story from an organism’s viewpoint.  The “Game” treehouse option is also a new and popular choice with the students. Creating treehouses on the Tree of Life gives students a unique opportunity to publish their work for a larger audience. 

Portfolio Pages

The Amazing Chipmunk
© chipmunk1
When most people think of, or see a chipmunk, they usually regard it as that annoying rodent that messes up the lawn by digging deep burrows. Some people remember that old cartoon, Alvin and the Chipmunks. Farmers think of them as vermin that destroy their crops and therefore should be destroyed themselves. Falcons see them as a mid-day snack. One can tell that the chipmunk is underappreciated...wich is why I dedicate this treehouse to it. GO CHIPMUNKS!
Blue Morpho Butterfly
© earthsbirthday.org
Miss Blue Morpho teaches a first grade class. Each and every one of her students was a lovely insect. Some of her students were flies, some were ladybugs, and others were bumble bees. Miss Blue Morpho was a beautiful butterfly. B-U-T-T-E-R-F-L-Y Miss Blue Morpho's class is doing something very special for school this week. Everyday each student is allowed to share a story about their life. Every student already shared their stories, so now it is Miss Blue Morpho's turn to tell about her life as a butterfly.
A Coqui Story
Coquis are a type of frog that are native to the island of Puerto Rico, and the word coqui is translated as "little frog" to the people of Puerto Rico. A trademark of the male coqui is the sound that it makes from sundown to dawn. If in Puerto Rico you will continually hear the magical nightime chirp of the coqui. MEET JUAN DIEGO DELGADO! Juan is an energetic and lively 8 year-old coqui; you will travel with Juan on his first day of third grade. Join Juan and his "amigos" for a short fun filled chapter book where Juan goes through the same things that we all went through or are going to go through on the first day of school. Hold on tight for a great learning experience!
Eagle Flight
© eagle1
A thick dew covered the forested landscape. It glistened brightly in the newly rising sun. The rust red cliffs seemed to radiate their hues down on the lush green valley below, creating the vision of fall colors on the leaves. The serene quiet of the forest was broken by gentle blowing of the wind upon the leaves and the stirring of the little creatures on the forest floor. The pond shimmered with a crystalline blue and reverberated, on its surface, the minute movements from within its depths. The trees below were now filled with the sound of small chicks awakening to the awareness of their hungry stomachs and their mothers searching for the worm that would calm their screeches. Now as the forest began to awake to the new day the sun shimmered with an increased brilliance and shown brightly on now emerging forest creatures. This was the image captured by my eagle eyes as I soared through the heavens mindfully searching for my prey...
Life of a River Hippopotamus
© William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International
Hello, my name is Tobo and I am a river hippopotamus. I am a friendly hippo, who has brown skin that looks almost like the color of mud. After looking at my reflection in the water, I noticed that my eyes were on the top of my head, and my ears were above my eyes. I have two sharp things sticking from my mouth that are called tusks. When I look at the other hippos in my pack, I notice that hippos are huge animals. We are heavy and enormous animals who walk on four feet. Everyday is an adventure out here in Africa. I would like to share with you a typical day in my life.
Lily the Panda
© panda1
Lily is a panda or Ailuropoda melanoleuca cub who has recently been sent off into the world alone by her mother. It's not that her mother is cruel, but Lily is two years old and panda cubs only stay with their mothers from one to two years. Lily experiences many new things such as getting food for herself, encountering new species and challenging obstacles. She even has a very heartrending experience with panda hunters and poachers. Join Lily on her adventure as she enters a new chapter in her life and struggles to survive in her perilous new world.
Fun and Games
Brown Algae Crosswords
© kelpy3
We have created and posted two crossword puzzles all about brown algae, or as scientists call them, Ascophyllum nodosum! We have one crossword for those who are beginners in the world of algae, and one for people of an intermediate level. We hope you enjoy yourselves learning all about brown algae! Good Luck!
Emperor Penguin Board Game
© emperor1
Emperor Penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) are aquatic birds that live in Antarctica. These birds cannot fly but they are very good swimmers. They eat fish, squid, and krill (a small shrimp-like animal). These birds are most famous for their black and white colors and their waddle. They are also famous for their long and ancient mating ritual which this game is based on. Play the emperor penguin board game and have fun while learning more about these fascinating birds.
Fire Belly Toads Video Game
© leapfrog1
Learn about frogs then play the “Fire Belly Toad Game”. Once at the treehouse, click on the link for the game to download FRORIO The Videogame!! Get ready to become FRORIO'S new best friend and help him find his way home by defeating his enemies. You will need to know the information that you learn about in this treehouse so that you can advance to each level of the game. Note, game works only on Windows computers.
The Geese Migration Game
Canadian geese migrate in the fall and winter to southern locations such as Northern Mexico. Geese migrate due to lack of food in the area. The geese fly at speeds of thirty to sixty miles per hour and travel in flocks of varying sizes. The sizes of the flocks vary due to the size, race and region of the geese. Smaller geese tend to fly in larger flocks and vice versa. The flocks range in sizes from 23 geese to 300 geese.
NJ Jellyfish and Game
© jellyNJ1
Learn about Jellyfish and play "Don't Get Stung by the Jellyfish!". Many people think of jellyfish as little creatures in the ocean that sting you. Not all jellyfish are harmful. The stinger on most jellyfish cannot even be seen. Hydromedusae, clear jellyfish, don't sting you when you touch them. Jellyfish have a gastric cavity, this means that they only have one opening as a mouth and an anus. Jellyfish do not have a brain, heart, gills, kidney or liver. Many jellyfish have tentacles which they use for feeling and grasping. They use these tentacles to grasp other creatures or plants (fish, plankton) to eat as food.
NJ Snake Game
© njsnake1
How well do you really know your NJ Snakes? This game is a printable game; all you have to do in order to play this game is to print the information in this treehouse, have a die, and make some simple game pieces. By playing this game you will learn information about the way snakes act, look, and where to find them. The fact cards give you all of this information, but for more information, check out our links!
Unbelievable Equines
© horserider1
Unbelievable Equines: Amazing Truths about Horses The horse, or Equine, or Equus caballus, is an animal that has been an important part of the American past since the beginning. This is one of my favorite animals, and here is a fun activity, to help you learn more about these amazing animals. There are four sections for answering horse trivia, some great pictures, a glossary of terms and an answer key.
White Tailed Deer
© deer1
Did You Hear About The White Tailed Deer? Learn about white tailed dear and then do a word search, fill in the blank game and crossword puzzle. Find out information such as: Where are white tailed deer found? What does a typical white tailed deer look like? What is the behavior of deer? and much more!
Guess Who?
© 2000 Greg and Marybeth Dimijian
Did you know there is more then one type of elephant, over 20 different types of frogs and even more then one type of penguin? Ever have trouble finding the difference between an aligator and a crocodile? Well this game will help you learn to identify different animals.

Learning Information

About This Page

Lisa Schwartz
University of Arizona

Rutgers Preparatory School

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Lisa Schwartz at and Valerie Pierce at

All Rights Reserved.

 Treehouses are authored by students, teachers, science enthusiasts, or professional scientists. Anyone can sign up as a treehouse contributor and share their knowledge and enthusiasm about organisms. Treehouse contributions are checked for general accuracy and quality by teachers and ToL editors, but they are not usually reviewed by expert scientists. If you spot an error, please get in touch with the author or the teacher. For more information about quality control of Tree of Life content, see Status of Tree of Life Pages.

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