Never underestimate the power of a tree! Besides giving us an amazing array of paper and wood products, trees provide a host of other benefits – from shading our backyards to assisting in the maintenance of the global climate. Students can express their appreciation of trees by planning and carrying out their own tree-planting project.
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.
Download the copyright free student pages that are included with this activity:
Plant a Tree
Spanish Student Page(s):
Planta un arbol
Engage students in real-world applications of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education.
Try these STEM Connections for this PLT activity:
Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:
Climate Challenge Board Game
Games4Sustainability can help you incorporate a sustainability-themed game in your activities to improve our 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.
Fruit Tree 101 Program
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation’s Fruit Tree 101 program brings high-quality fruit trees and shrubs, equipment, on-site orchard design expertise and oversight, horticultural workshops, and aftercare training and manuals to schoolyards across the country. By planting fruit trees, students will improve the surrounding air, soil, and water and provide a local source of healthy nutrition. There is no deadline to apply; applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Recipients must be public schools, nonprofits, or government entities that own the planting site, showcase commitment to caring for the trees in perpetuity, have a source of irrigation nearby, and can help coordinate local volunteers to participate on the day of planting.
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.
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.
Outdoor Classroom Resources
Are you interested in developing an outdoor classroom with your school or community? The Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry has put together a great resource on developing outdoor education areas. Recently updated by the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), Guidelines and Features for Outdoor Classrooms shares factors and suggestions for planning and building an educational outdoor space for schools and communities.
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.
Tree Product Images
Print-out pages containing many examples of everyday products that come from trees!
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!