STEM: Poet-Tree

math-word-wall-five-tipsEngage students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) through the power of the written word. The suggestions below are enrichments for Project Learning Tree’s Poet-Tree activity, found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. Be sure to check out the full lesson!

Getting Started: Vocabulary words associated with STEM disciplines are sometimes difficult to pronounce, let alone define. Creating an interactive word wall that showcases grade-level appropriate vocabulary terms for each of the four STEM discipline areas provides students a tool that can build their confidence and ability to communicate effectively. Writing gives students the opportunity to be creative, critical, and imaginative.

Essential Question: How might words associated with the four STEM disciplines be combined to create a form of poetry? (You might consider a Haiku, Cinquain, shape poetry, or simply write free verse.)

Performance Task: Using different forms of poetry, use STEM vocabulary word walls to create at least 3 forms of a poetry. (Common Core Connection: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.1, .3, .4, .5, and .6)

STEM Strategies


Using single and multiple-syllable words, test STEM vocabulary terms (science, technology, engineering, and math) for their use in different forms of poetry. Determine first which form of poetry is best suited for single and multiple-syllable words and then second, which STEM discipline has the most functionally poetic vocabulary.


Using computer technology (digital video, word processing and graphic software), challenge students to produce poetry using a new medium. Be creative with your words (lyrics for a song), with graphics (shapes, colors, sounds, etc.), and learn to use computer technologies to see and hear your poetry come to life.


The Haiku, Diamante, and Shape Poetry forms are designed to follow a specific building process. Create a process model for writing any form of poetry that focuses on STEM vocabulary.


Write poems using math vocabulary to describe how to perform the actions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Use the vocabulary properly and remember that not all Wonderful Maths poems need to rhyme!

Additional Resources

Don’t have PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide?

  • Purchase a print guide or e-book, available from, Amazon and other places where books are sold.
  • Get it through your PLT State Coordinator along with hands-on professional development, alignments to state standards and other state-specific supporting resources.

Don’t consider yourself a formal teacher?

  • Check out PLT’s Poet-Tree family activity. We have 40+ nature activities for families that can be easily used by parents, grandparents, nature centers, and other nonformal programs.

Kris Irwin Ph.D.

Kris Irwin Ph.D.

Dr. Irwin is the Associate Dean for Outreach at the Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, The University of Georgia. Kris has a diversity of experience in environmental education, outreach, and instructional design. He is Co-Coordinator for the Georgia PLT program and was recognized as a National Project Learning Tree Outstanding Educator in 2002.

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