Tips for Doing PLT Activities

  • Teaching about climate change, water, trees, and wildlife

    Teaching about Climate Change with PLT, Project WET, and Project WILD

    Climate change is a complex topic that can be intimidating to teach. However, understanding climate, including the ways it is changing and how that impacts the environment, is crucial to making informed decisions and building resilience. Project Learning Tree, Project WET, and Project WILD provide over 100 hands-on activities that are grounded in each of our environmental focuses.  

  • Betty Jo Moore

    Sparking Curiosity in Her Students | Teacher Feature: Betty Jo Moore

    For many sixth graders, their focus is elsewhere besides science. But one inspiring educator from North Carolina, Betty Jo Moore, is nurturing the next generation of budding scientists and environmental stewards. After leaving a career in the corporate world, she became a substitute teacher, falling in love with teaching. Read more in PLT’s teacher feature!

  • Art with sticks, leaves, and rocks

    Boost Student Creativity With Art Projects in Nature

    Creating art in nature is about connecting with your environment, being inspired by nature, and leaving it right where it was found. Explore activities that use tools and materials found in nature to show children that anything can be art if you’re creative enough!

  • Majestic Mondays with PLT | Teacher Feature: Nancy Blake

    Nancy Blake, a teacher in Alaska, makes every Monday majestic for her students. She weaves PLT lessons about nature into physical education classes.

  • Bird sitting on a tree holding an insect in its mouth

    Everything Is Connected: The Benefits of Native Bird, Insect, and Tree Species

    Native species are essential to healthy ecosystems. These species have had years of evolution to adapt to weather, seasons, and other living things around them. Native birds and insects in particular keep our environments in balance. Take a look at the importance of native birds and insects in our natural environments and how we can introduce students to these concepts in tangible ways.

  • 4 young learnings sitting at a classroom table participating in hands-on learning

    Fostering Social and Emotional Learning Through Nature Education

    Summer break allows educators to recharge and reflect. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is important for students’ growth—nature-based education, like PLT activities, fosters SEL by promoting collaboration, self-expression, and emotional connection to nature. Explore ways you can incorporate SEL into your classroom this school year!

  • hummingbird in a tree

    Hands-On Pollinator Activities for Preschoolers

    Young learners often focus on bees when learning about pollinators, but it’s important to introduce them to the diverse range of pollinators supporting our ecosystems. From birds to bats, butterflies to moths, there’s much to learn. Engaging activities like scavenger hunts, bee baths, and pollinator-themed crafts help them understand the vital role of these creatures and the importance of conserving their habitats. Explore how you can enhance activities and learnings with PLT!

  • A Tool for Your Science Toolbox: Natural Inquirer

    Natural Inquirer is a free science education journal written for middle through high school age students. Learn more about the variety of PLT resources that have been correlated to Natural Inquirer articles.

  • How to Start a Classroom Garden With Minimal Resources

    Spring has sprung, which means now is the perfect time to start a classroom garden! Learn how to get your garden growing with minimal resources while engaging students with hands-on learning.

  • Early Childhood Education for Earth Day (and Beyond!)

    PLT recently collaborated with our friends at Natural Start Alliance to host a free educator webinar full of ideas for creating fun, authentic outdoor learning experiences for ages 1-6. Check out the tips and ideas shared, as well as a free activity download from PLT’s Trees & Me: Activities for Exploring Nature with Young Children.

  • Show Love for Nature With Eco-Friendly Recycled Valentine’s Crafts 

    Explore fun, hands-on Valentine’s Day crafts using natural and recycled materials to try at home or in the classroom, including wreaths, ornaments, cards, textile gifts, and more!

  • Hands-on Activities & Advice for New Environmental Educators

    Explore PLT resources to help you teach students about the environment, whether you’re new to teaching or looking for new environmental education resources to explore! PLT provides easy-to-teach, hands-on activities suitable for various settings, and a range of resources to support and mentor new educators.

  • evergreen tree with pinecones

    Learning About Conifer & Evergreen Trees

    Watching the seasons change can be an exciting time for students, especially if they live in a community with obvious seasonal changes! Use these lessons to foster curiosity in students wondering how some trees stay green all winter long and as a basis to learn about trees throughout the year.

  • young girl pulling child on sled through the snow

    How to Make the Most of Winter Outdoor Activities

    The winter environment offers abundant outdoor learning opportunities for preschoolers and high schoolers alike. How do you make the most of outdoor activities for kids during the colder months? Molly Gillespie, Alaska’s PLT Coordinator, recently shared with us some tips for teaching outdoors in the winter.

  • two young boys counting leaves in a forest

    7 Benefits of Using Nature and the Outdoors to Teach Math

    Nature is a fascinating environment to create fun, authentic learning experiences, especially when it comes to math concepts! Explore seven benefits of using nature and the outdoors to teach math.

  • 21 Nature Books by Hispanic and Latino Authors

    Books by diverse authors give us a view of the world from many different lenses. They also let children see their own cultural experiences reflected …

  • Cross sections of earth with trees and a wind turbine on top

    Earth Science Week Activities to Try in Your Classroom

    Get learners excited about sustainability with Earth Science Week activities you can try with your classroom, complete with recommended grade levels and relevant science standards!

  • Paper Craft Ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month

    Whether you are a parent, classroom teacher, paper products professional, or museum activity leader – we’ve assembled a list of fun paper and cardboard activities that celebrate the culture of Hispanic and Latino communities and present an opportunity for a conversation about the importance of making better decisions for people and the planet

  • Red cardinal sitting on a fence

    How to Introduce Students to Urban Birdwatching

    Introduce kids to urban birdwatching and help them enjoy their immediate environments! Check out how to get started with urban birdwatching at your school, daycare, summer camp, or home, along with bird-themed activities that you can adapt for your classroom. 

  • yellow bird perches atop pink flowers

    Expand Your Classroom With Nature-Based Sensory Activities

    Explore the world outside or bring the outdoors in with nature-based sensory activities that meet the needs of all students, including those with special or diverse needs.

  • Celebrate Earth Day with Community science projects

    Celebrate Earth Day With Community Science Projects

    Want to do something to honor Earth Day and Earth Month? Make an impact as a citizen scientist and contribute to real-life data while helping local and global ecosystems!

  • Finch on a bird feeder

    14 Bird Feeder Projects Using Natural and Recycled Materials

    Engage kids in outdoor learning with a variety of fun, hands-on bird feeder projects featuring recycled and natural materials.

  • graphic of native american heritage month with a woven blanket around the border

    Native American Heritage Month, Thanksgiving, and Year-Round Resources for Educators

    November is Native American, or American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. While we should honor, recognize, and celebrate Indigenous Peoples year-round, November is a month to dedicate more time to our individual and respective learning journeys about Indigenous Peoples’ history, culture, knowledge, perspectives, and leadership.

  • Activities and Experiments to Explore Photosynthesis in the Classroom

    Photosynthesis can be a difficult concept to grasp, that’s why we’ve compiled a selection of hands-on activities and experiments to help show students some of the concepts in action.

  • Firefighter in a burning field

    All About Wildfires: Causes, Effects, and Educational Activities

    While some fires naturally occur and help keep forest ecosystems healthy, 84% of wildfires are caused by human-related activities. Help children learn what causes wildfires and how to prevent them with these student activities.

  • two young girls wearing masks running on grass outside

    Socially-Distanced PLT Activities for Summer Camps

    After the past year, kids need a way to get active and safely reconnect with friends and the outdoors. While PLT is relevant anytime, learn more about why it’s especially perfect for 2021 summer campers.

  • social distancing observe wildlife rules but with people

    PLT’s Top 8 Socially-Distanced Activities

    We’ve assembled a list of our top eight Project Learning Tree activities perfect for social distancing kids in Kindergarten through Grade 8.

  • young boy draws a tree with colored pencils

    21 Tree Art Projects for Young Learners

    We’ve gathered a variety of art projects for Preschool through Grade 2 children involving handprints, mosaics, found objects such as sticks and leaves, and repurposed materials such as egg cartons to get students excited and thinking about trees.

  • Flat lay photo of PLT's K-8 Explore Your Environment Activity Guide and magnifying glass, acorns, string, and tree cookie

    An Extraordinary Exploration: Introducing PLT’s New K-8 Activity Guide, Explore Your Environment

    Get to know the guide! Project Learning Tree’s Director of Curriculum, Jackie Stallard shares how our new Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide was developed and details some of the new features designed for flexible instruction.

  • Fallen tree in a forest

    What Happens to Trees that Fall in the Forest

    In dying, a tree plays an essential role in sustaining life around it. Here are some classroom activities to explore decomposition and how a fallen tree provides for other life in the forest.

  • child-photographing-the-autumn-woods

    Virtual Makeover: The Closer You Look

    Colorado PLT Coordinator Danielle Ardrey shares how to adapt the PLT Activity “The Closer You Look” for remote instruction. Students will go outdoors or view pictures to take a closer look at trees and their parts.

  • young-boy-listens-outdoors

    Virtual Makeover: Sounds Around

    Learn how to adapt our “Sounds Around” student activity for remote instruction, allowing students to tune in to the everyday sounds of nature from home or a nearby outdoor space.

  • Virtual Makeover: Looking at Leaves

    Many PLT activities are easily adapted to virtual learning, as we illustrate in this new monthly feature in the Branch. Check out this adaptation for Looking at Leaves from Colorado’s PLT Coordinator

  • Young girl in the forest

    Environmental Sensory Activities for Preschoolers

    Help early learners explore the world around them with these multisensory activities. These simple and creative approaches will get preschoolers exploring the outdoors, using all their senses!

  • Two female foresters in uniform overlooking a lake with mountains in the background

    Green Jobs and Careers in Conservation

    There are many “green” job opportunities in traditional fields such as forestry, wildlife conservation, fisheries management, soil and water conservation, and environmental law. There are also career opportunities with nonprofits and for-profit businesses that can help the Earth.

  • Wooden toy, apple, book, baseball bat, and colored pencils

    Using PLT in the New Normal

    Did you know that you can adapt many of PLT’s activities to present virtually or assign to your students for independent exploration? “We All Need Trees” is a great example.

  • Two people standing on cracked ice floats.

    What Is Causing Changes In Our Climate?

    In recent years, there has been growing concern about rising temperatures across the globe. What is causing these changes in our climate? Why are we so concerned about it now?

  • popcorn representing the world's resources and calculator estimating value of trees

    7th-9th Grade Activities for Budding Environmental Scientists

    As a 7th grade Environmental Science teacher, I often turn to PLT for ideas and inspiration. So when my state adopted new environmental science content and guidelines earlier this year, I took a deep breath and opened my trustworthy PreK-8 Guide for inspiration. It’s helped me through previous curriculum and standards changes in years past, and not surprisingly, I found more than 15 engaging activities to strongly correlate with the new state guidelines.

  • wind turbines on a landscape

    Going Green: 8 Activities to Teach Sustainability in Your Classroom

    Supplement your curriculum across subject areas with these 8 easy activities with a sustainability theme for middle school students.

  • Flowers with a butterfly

    Better Together: Mutualistic Relationships Between Plants and Insects

    Plants help protect insects, and insects help plants pollinate and disperse seeds. Learn about some specialized symbiotic relationships that benefit both organisms involved.

  • Bag full of empty plastic water bottles - one example of single-use plastic

    How Students Can Help Reduce Single-Use Plastic to Protect the Environment

    Thirty-two percent of the plastics produced each year flow into our oceans. Here are a few ways you can encourage your students to reflect on how much plastic they use and how they can reduce their plastic consumption to protect the environment.

  • Pi-symbol-on-pie

    4 Ways to Celebrate Pi Day in Nature

    Celebrate mathematics and all that is Pi using these nature-based and STEM-focused activities.

  • Develop Youth’s Life Skills with PLT and 4-H

    This crosswalk quickly shows which PLT activities support youth development goals and 4-H Life Skills that are organized around the Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.

  • Halloween bookmarks Your True Nature

    Halloween STEAM, Campfires and Poetry

    Get inspiration from nature this Halloween with themed bookmarks, campfire advice, and lesson ideas around science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Explore Your True Nature’s Halloween collection of fun and inspirational poetry: Advice from a Spider, a Bat, an Owl, a Pumpkin, and more!

  • Educational science apps for elementary students

    Fun and Educational Science Apps for Elementary Students

    These fun, educational apps focus on topics such as food webs, climate change, trees, conservation, and weather and they complement Project Learning Tree’s lesson plans.

  • Elementary-students-container-gardens

    Tree Planting and Gardening Nurture Learning

    A GreenWorks! grant to Coles Elementary in Virginia sparked science learning across all grades as students investigated a soil erosion problem on their school grounds.

  • Tree in a field

    Hands-On Activities to Explore the Many Uses of Trees

    Learning about trees is a great introduction to many subject areas – from science to music to geography. Here are some outdoor lesson ideas for students in any grade.

  • Hands-on activities for introducing ecosystems to elementary students

    Hands-On Activities for Introducing Ecosystems to Elementary Students

    To really understand how interconnected all life forms in an ecosystem are, it helps to experience those webs first-hand, inside and outside the classroom.

  • students-working-around-table-in-classroom

    Help Students Work Out a Land Issue with Forest Consequences

    A PLT Outstanding Educator shares her adaptations and useful resources for conducting Project Learning Tree’s Forest Consequences lesson from the PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide.

  • arts-and-craft-model-showing-inside-of-tree

    An Easy-to-Make Model that Explains the Inner Parts of a Tree

    Help students visualize and better understand the function of the inner parts of a tree trunk by creating this easy-to-make visual aid.

  • Ideas for Young Learners to Explore Sounds Around Their Neighborhood

    Sounds abound in every school yard! This activity encourages PreK-2 learners to explore sounds all around their neighborhood and compare how sounds change from one season to the next.

  • kids-monitoring-taking-notes-on-path-outside

    How I Got Environmental Education into My Kids’ Classroom

    A parent finds a way to introduce environmental education and PLT into busy teachers’ schedules at her own children’s school.

  • How-To Videos for Conducting PLT Activities with Your Students

    Watch these videos of some of PLT’s most popular activities in action. The videos accompany our new online professional development courses.

  • class-with-teacher-holding-hands-during-activity

    Tree Factory Activity Helps Students Learn How a Tree Functions

    Print out these useful cards for students to wear as giant name tags next time you facilitate PLT’s Activity 63: Tree Factory in your classroom.

  • trees-in-park

    Activities to Teach About Forests in the Place You Live

    Combine lessons from these two resources to stimulate higher level thinking in your students and spark discussions about the value of trees where you live.

  • observing-outside-in-winter

    Why Teach Outside in Winter?

    Teaching outside year-round is a rewarding experience for students of all ages. Teachers in Maine share how to make winter outdoor learning safe and fun.

  • vibrant and colorful paper cut outs of different leaf shapes stuck to a window

    What Makes Trees So Colorful in the Fall?

    Visible and invisible changes happen in leaves this season. Explore these changes and how to use a classic PLT activity to teach about fall colors.

  • nature-journal

    Nature Journaling Ideas

    Discover how experiential learning across all subjects can be achieved by encouraging your students to use a nature journal.

  • ELM-students-drawing-outside

    ELM: Environmental Learning Multiplied, in Denver

    Multiplication often results in ending up with more than you had at the start. That’s what happened with Environmental Learning Multiplied, or ELM, a program that took place at Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver.

  • Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios Denver Greenhouse

    Incorporating PLT GreenSchools in Culturally Diverse Classrooms

    An urban school teacher in Denver adapts GreenSchools to meet the needs of her Latino students, incorporates gardening and farming at a nearby Urban Farm.

  • students-around-box-of-supplies-on-table

    Our Environmental Journey Began with an Exchange Box

    A classic PLT activity connects students in Texas and Connecticut—and a parent adds an unexpected personal connection to make the learning even more real.

  • wangari maathai

    Words to Live By – A Tribute to Wangari Maathai

    Kenyan environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Incorporate her story into this PLT activity.

  • Students Across the Country Exchange Forests

    A foundation of PLT’s broad-based curriculum is support and enrichment of a variety of teaching and learning opportunities for teachers and students alike.  PLT activities …

  • A Small Project Inspires Students to Tackle Bigger Challenges

    After completing a self-guided Meditation Nature Trail, high school students took on a bigger project. They created a permanent, interactive station to teach visitors about interconnectedness in nature.

  • high-school-students-taking-notes-in-woods

    8 Differentiated Instruction Techniques to Reach Diverse Learners

    Try these teaching ideas to provide students with different learning styles and abilities multiple avenues to acquire and process content.