Resources for PreK-8 Activity 27 – Every Tree for Itself

Try this active simulation to give your students an understanding of the conditions that trees need to live and grow and to help your students learn that trees often must compete for their needs.

This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 


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:


Try a simple variation of this activity to engage children in the outdoors at home. Download this fun and easy-to-do family activity.


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

  • Every Tree for Itself Simulation

    In this free short simulation created by PLT, students pretend to be trees as they compete for essential resources. This simulation explores the underlying concepts of how trees grow. For example, what might happen to an individual tree when there is an inadequate water supply?  Click to

    Launch Presentation

  • Every Indiana Tree for Itself: Indiana Specific Activity Supplement

    This supplement is specific to Indiana tree for the Activity 27-Every Tree for Itself. 

  • Tree Rings Simulation

    The science of tree rings is called dendrochronology. Tree rings help scientists learn about past climates by decoding tree ring patterns. Climate scientists use clues from ice cores, layered sediment deposits in lakes and seas, the structure of coral reefs, as well as tree ring sequences to learn about paleoclimates. The use of tree ring records to decode Earth’s climate history is called dendroclimatology. Use this interactive Tree Rings Simulation by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Center for Science Education to learn what tree ring patterns can tell us about climate conditions in the past.

  • Every Bee for Itself

    For a twist on PLT’s PreK-8 Guide Activity 27—Every Tree for Itself, check out Every Bee for Itself. Developed by a Texas PLT educator, Allen Smith, this activity focuses on the things bees need to survive: pollen, nectar, and shelter. Students learn about how bees communicate with each other and even make up their own bee dance! This activity aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) 5E Learning Model.

  • Cornucopia

    A STEM education simulation game from the California Academy of Sciences called Cornucopia is a free online resource. The game teaches students in grades 5-12 about natural resource use and management, the effect of climate conditions on water availability and food production, and the way agricultural technology impacts water use.  

  • 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.

  • Activity Adaptation

    Check out this adaptation of PLT’s Every Tree for Itself activity. It is often used with landowners, foresters, and other forestland decision makers to convey why certain harvesting practices are conducted woodlots.

  • Easy Chart

    A free app that can be downloaded onto Apple devices. This is a good tool for teachers and classrooms. Easily create bar, line and pie charts that you can customize, save and e-mail or upload. The charts you create can be saved using multiple color schemes and in multiple sizes. The app also works without an internet connection.