Resources for Grades 6-8 Activity – Plant a Tree

Never underestimate the power of a tree! In addition to giving us an amazing array of paper and wood products, trees provide a host of other benefits—from shading our backyards to reducing air pollution to helping stabilize the global climate. Students can express their appreciation of trees by planning and carrying out their own tree-planting project.

For the complete activity and more like this, purchase the Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide at Shop.PLT.org and/or attend a professional development training in your state.

Below are some supporting resources for this activity.

STUDENT PAGES

Download the copyright-free student pages that are included with this activity:

Tree Planting Checklist (PDF)

RECOMMENDED READING

Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals, while building upon concepts learned in this activity, with the following children’s book recommendations:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The following tools and resources may be used to enhance the activity.

  • Podcast: Proper Planting Is Key

    Proper Planting Is Key.” Trees Are Key, Episode 26. The first 8-minute segment of this podcast provides many practical details for how to plant a tree and how to water it until it is established. Geared for adults, Trees Are Key is a series of over 300 podcasts by Texas A&M Forest Service. See https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/podcasts/treesarekey/ for the full list.

  • Video: How Does a Tree Grow? Hint: It’s Not What You Think

    How Does a Tree Grow? Hint: It’s Not What You Think.” This 7:06-minute video describes how a tree’s twigs, trunk, and branches grow longer and fatter, explains how to count tree rings on a tree cookie, and shows some different stories a tree cookie might reveal.

  • Climate Challenge Board Game

    Games4Sustainability can help you incorporate a sustainability-themed game in your activities to improve your understanding of important global issues today. Narrow your search from among 100+ games and simulations by filtering the games by the UN Sustainable Development Goals or use the advanced search for more options. Challenges include topics of food, climate, security, and public health. For example, in the Climate Challenge, players face the crucial trade-off between long-term sustainability and short-term economic growth. Provide your students with a unique challenge to problem solve and practice decision making.

  • Food and Climate Change

    Understanding Food and Climate Change: An Interactive Guide uses video, photos, and hands-on experiences for educators and students to learn about how food and climate systems interact. Explore how personal choices about food can make a difference. Ideal for grades 6–12, with connections to Next Generation Science Standards and the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies themes, the guide offers activities for student research and resources for further investigation.

  • Offset Carbon Emissions

    Want to help cut back on carbon emissions and slow the pace of global climate change? Check out this NASA produced educational game called OFFSET, appropriate for all ages. In the game you will see how CO2 is produced from burning coal and by gasoline powered cars. Playing the game, you will have to offset these carbon emissions by investing in clean wind energy farms, solar power, and/or electric cars.

  • SeedSmart

    Teachers and students can use SeedSmart to find answers to basic questions about a site you might be wanting to restore. Some of these questions include: Which species are native here? What are the important soil characteristics I should know about? Which plants grow best in this setting? Which plants will be more likely to thrive under changing climatic conditions? The tool is compatible with any smartphone or browser and allows users to zoom in to their local ecosystem and determine the mix of native species that are best suited for a particular site. This first of its kind, all-in-one web application was developed by NatureServe, an international biodiversity conservation organization.

  • Go Plant a Tree!

    In this short video from PBS Plum Landing, see how students work with a local arborist to plant a tree in their community. Underneath the video, you’ll find some simple conversation starting questions and additional resources to inspire your students.

  • Tree Product Images

    Print out pages containing many examples of everyday products from trees

  • School Gardens Fact Sheet

    This USDA resource titled School Gardens: Using Gardens to Grow Healthy Habits in Cafeterias, Classrooms, and Communities provides a brief overview of the benefits and educational uses of school gardens. It includes links to successful school garden programs and tips for planning, staffing, funding and maintaining a school garden.

  • Carbon Cycle Activity

    Carbon Cycle Activity (similar to “Water Wonders” Water Cycle activity) developed by Carlyn Nichols, PLT educator in Seward, Alaska. Helps relate the carbon cycle to climate change.

  • Climate Change around the World

    An article in BBC News that discusses impacts of global warming in countries around the world and in major sectors of society: health, water, food, ecosystems, coasts, and industry.

  • Think Garden Video Series

    This Think Garden video collection was produced by Kentucky Educational Television for elementary students as a teaching tool about growing food and all elements around food gardening. Consider using it to support PLT GreenWorks! or GreenSchools projects as we enter the growing season.

  • Zero Carbon

    A free app that can be downloaded for Apple devices. Zero Carbon can calculate an individual’s carbon footprint by looking at a person’s daily habits. Once you know the amount of greenhouse gases your lifestyle is producing, this app offers tips on reducing that number. Zero Carbon also shows how your statistics stack up against world averages, and it can be connected to Facebook, for sharing results.

  • Plant for the Planet Video

    Inspired by Wangari Maathai, 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner founded “Plant for the Planet” and has planted more than 500,000 trees in Germany which he says will help sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Watch Felix’s video, part of the Young Voices on Climate Change series, to learn about his efforts to plant trees for a healthier world.

  • The Secret Life of Trees

    This animated presentation for students in grades 3-5 explains in detail how an acorn becomes a tree. The audio is available in English and Spanish.

  • School Garden Checklist

    Planning to start a garden project? Download this step-by-step guide, provided by the Let’s Move! Presidential initiative, to ensure you won’t miss any information that could support the health of your garden. Detailed checklists offer tips about soil safety, site selection, overall design, plant palette, how to build and use the garden, and the importance of creating local partnerships and utilizing local resources.

  • EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator

    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website provides an interactive carbon footprint calculator designed for use by students in middle or high school. The calculator begins by asking students to investigate some baseline data points, such as their average home energy usage, transportation habits, and waste disposal process. Then, the calculator offers ways impact reduction by offering tangible conservation tips alongside estimated annual savings. This is an excellent tool for making home connections, as well as a compliment to PLT GreenSchools!