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Learning Hub

The Tree Campus K–12 Resource Hub contains examples of tree-centric curriculum and activities that have the power to connect your students to trees.

This collection is intended to provide inspiration — using these examples is not required to fulfill the program’s Education Plan goal. Have a classroom-tested example you’d like to share? Email us at k-12@arborday.org.

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document

Guide

Free  |  Project Learning Tree

Teaching With i-Tree   redirect

Activities, worksheets, resources, and guide for educators

Project Learning Tree’s Teaching with i-Tree unit includes three hands-on activities that help middle and high school students discover and analyze the many ecosystem services that trees provide. Students input data they collect into a free online tool that calculates the dollar value of the benefits provided by a tree, or a set of trees.

biology ecology economics language arts technology

Grade Level: 6–12

Standards Alignment: NGSS and Common Core State Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

calendar

Lesson Plan

$40  |  Project Learning Tree

Treemendous Science!   redirect

Step-by-step lesson plans and assessment tools

Treemendous Science! students will explore, experience, observe, and collect tree data to develop understandings about how trees grow, the roles trees play in ecological systems, and the ways in which trees and humans interact.

science

Grade Level: K–2

Standards Alignment: NGSS and Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, C3 Framework for Social Studies

calendar

Lesson Plan

$40  |  Project Learning Tree

Energy in Ecosystems   redirect

Step-by-step lesson plans and assessment tools

Students focus on forests (one of the largest and most complex types of ecosystems) and come to understand some of the interactions present in all ecosystems. In doing so, they learn to appreciate the natural systems on which we depend and begin to widen their circle of compassion to include all of nature.

science

Grade Level: 3–5

Standards Alignment: NGSS and Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Math, C3 Framework for Social Studies

calendar

Lesson Plan

$40  |  Project Learning Tree

Carbon and Climate   redirect

Step-by-step lesson plans and assessment tools

Designed for 6th-8th grade teachers, Carbon & Climate provides activities and resources to help educators meet these challenges, introducing students to some of the complex issues involved in climate change.

science

Grade Level: 6–8

Standards Alignment: NGSS and Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Math, C3 Framework for Social Studies

calendar

Lesson Plan

Must Attend a Trainning  |  $25  |  Project Learning Tree

Focus on Forests   redirect

Step-by-step lesson plans and assessment tools

This high school curriculum is designed to foster student understanding of — and appreciation for — the forested lands of North America. The lessons provide students with opportunities for hands-on forest study and address concepts in biology, civics, ecology, economics, forest management, and other content areas.

Students examine ecological systems of a forest; analyze interdependencies within a forest ecosystem; and explore factors, like fire, that shape the development of forests. As students explore forest issues and develop science content knowledge, they develop critical thinking skills and discover the importance of scientific analysis.

Biology civics ecology economics forest management

Grade Level: 9–12

Standards Alignment: NGSS and Common Core State Standards for ELA and Math

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Activity

Must Attend a Trainning | $25 | Project Learning Tree

Forests of the World   redirect

Student activities

Global Connections: Forests of the World provides opportunities for high school teachers and students to gain an increased understanding of — and appreciation for — the diversity of global forests. The lessons emphasize the interactions people have with forests and our dependence on them. The activities provide students with opportunities to apply scientific processes and higher order thinking skills while investigating world forestry issues and conducting service-learning action projects.

Science

Grade Level: 9–12

Standards Alignment: NGSS and Common Core State Standards for ELA and Math

calendar

Lesson Plan

Free  |  KidsGardening.org

Exploring Tree Rings   redirect

Lesson Plan

Trees are essential workhorses in our environment, providing us with oxygen to breathe; foods such as apples, hazelnuts, and maple syrup to eat; and wood for our houses, paper products, and furniture. In nature, trees provide food and housing for birds, insects, and other animals. They filter water and absorb carbon. Their importance is evident, but how do trees actually work?

Science

Grade Level: 9–12

calendar

Lesson Plan

Free  |  The Nature Conservancy (Nature Works Everywhere)

Urban Trees   redirect

Lesson plan with video

Students will learn about how trees are an essential part of our lives with a focus on the role they play in urban areas, including energy considerations. They will consider threats posed to trees, including non-native insects, domestic animal waste, and erosion. Students then evaluate the potential impact of local tree conservation efforts and design a plan for their community.

Science Natural Resources

Grade Level: 6–8

Standards Alignment:NGSS Middle School, Common Core Science and Technical Subjects

calendar

Lesson Plan

Free  |  The Nature Conservancy (Nature Works Everywhere)

Seeing the Wood for the Trees:
Introduction to Sustainable Forestry   redirect

Lesson plan with video

In this lesson, students interact with Google Earth to identify forests that have been logged selectively versus those that have not. They also learn how to distinguish the appearance of forestry methods in satellite images. Outdoors, students create a comprehensive list of all the tree species in their own neighborhoods or local parks. Students collect leaves and work as individuals, then as teams, to identify the trees in their sampling area. Class data is pooled to allow simple calculations of rarity indices for the various tree species.

Science Environmental Science

Grade Level: 6–8

Standards Alignment:NGSS Middle School, Common Core English and Language Arts Standards for Speaking and Listening

calendar

Lesson Plan

Free  |  The Nature Conservancy (Nature Works Everywhere)

Reforestation: Impact on Climate   redirect

Lesson plan with video

Deforestation is clearing Earth’s forests on a massive scale. In this lesson, students learn the value of large-scale forest landscapes and their role in the carbon cycle. Tools such as infographics and carbon calculators help students investigate deforestation and its impact on climate. Reforestation also impacts climate change. Students explore how reforestation can help decrease carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, thereby minimizing climate change and improving air quality.

Science

Grade Level: 6–8

Standards Alignment:NGSS Middle School, Common Core English and Language Arts Standards for Writing

calendar

Lesson Plan

Free  |  The Nature Conservancy (Nature Works Everywhere)

Ecosystem Interdependence:
Managing Salmon for Healthy Forests   redirect

Lesson plan with video

In this lesson plan, students address the impact of unsustainable fishing practices. Salmon runs are an important factor in cycling several nutrients. Overfishing salmon reduces the forest’s capacity for growth and regeneration. Students explore the connection between the size of salmon runs and forest health. First, they test a population model to estimate a sustainable salmon harvest. Second, they simulate variation in nutrient input by comparing growth of plants given inputs of different concentrations of fish-based fertilizer with a control.

Science

Grade Level: 6–12

Standards Alignment:NGSS Middle School, NGSS High School, Common Core English and Language Arts Standards for Science and Technical Subjects and Writing Grades 6-8

open book

Illustrated Publication

Free  |  LearnForests.org (Oregon Forest Literacy Plan)

Sounds of the Forest   redirect

Illustrated publication for young readers

This publication, with text and color illustrations, is intended for young readers (grades K-3) and tells the story of some of the animals that live in Oregon’s forests.

Reading Nature

Grade Level: K–3

open book

Illustrated Publication

Free  |  LearnForests.org (Oregon Forest Literacy Plan)

Forest Essays Grades 2-3   redirect

Illustrated essay collection with reading comprehension questions

This illustrated collection of essays addresses topics related to Oregon’s forests, including wildlife, forestry and tree biology. The one-page essays were written by a team of natural resources specialists and then reviewed by teachers for content and readability and scientists for accuracy. Each essay includes reading comprehension questions.

Reading Wildlife Forestry Tree Biology

Grade Level: 2–3

open book

Illustrated Publication

Free  |  LearnForests.org (Oregon Forest Literacy Plan)

Forest Essays Grades 4-5   redirect

Illustrated essay collection with reading comprehension questions

This illustrated collection of essays addresses topics related to Oregon’s forests, including wildlife, forestry and tree biology. The one-page essays were written by a team of natural resources specialists and then reviewed by teachers for content and readability and scientists for accuracy. Each essay includes reading comprehension questions.

Reading Wildlife Forestry Tree Biology

Grade Level: 4–5

open book

Illustrated Publication

Free  |  LearnForests.org (Oregon Forest Literacy Plan)

Forest Essays Grades 6   redirect

Illustrated essay collection with reading comprehension questions

This illustrated collection of essays addresses topics related to Oregon’s forests, including wildlife, forestry and tree biology. The one-page essays were written by a team of natural resources specialists and then reviewed by teachers for content and readability and scientists for accuracy. Each essay includes reading comprehension questions.

Reading Wildlife Forestry Tree Biology

Grade Level: 6

open book

Illustrated Publication

Free  |  LearnForests.org (Oregon Forest Literacy Plan)

Forest Essays Grades 7-12   redirect

Illustrated essay collection with reading comprehension questions

This illustrated collection of essays addresses topics related to Oregon’s forests, including wildlife, forestry and tree biology. The one-page essays were written by a team of natural resources specialists and then reviewed by teachers for content and readability and scientists for accuracy. Each essay includes reading comprehension questions.

Reading Wildlife Forestry Tree Biology

Grade Level: 7–12

open book

Illustrated Publication

Free  |  LearnForests.org (Oregon Forest Literacy Plan)

Where’s All The Carbon? (Poster)   redirect

Poster to accompany activity

This classroom poster illustrates the role of forests and wood products in the carbon cycle. The poster shows the major contributors of carbon into the atmosphere, how forests absorb carbon through photosynthesis and how wood products such as lumber and furniture continue to store the carbon absorbed by trees.

Science

Grade Level: 6–12

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Activity

Free  |  LearnForests.org (Oregon Forest Literacy Plan)

Where’s All The Carbon? Instruction Guide-New   redirect

Activity, student page

A companion to Where’s All The Carbon? poster, the Instruction Guide includes additional activities, lesson plans and background information to help teachers go deeper into the material included in the student publication. The guide also includes a list of additional resources, and it is aligned to state educational standards.

Science

Grade Level: 6–12

Standards Alignment:NGSS, Common Core State Standards for Literacy/ELA and Math

document

Guide

Free  |  California Academy of Sciences

Citizen Science Toolkit   redirect

Toolkit for educators wishing to integrate citizen science projects into the classroom

This toolkit is designed to help educators integrate citizen science projects into classroom curricula or afterschool programming.

It contains resources—including lessons, readings, and worksheets—to help communicate the value of citizen science to students and cultivate their sense of empowerment and impact when performing science investigations.

Citizen Science

Grade Level: K–12

Standards Alignment: NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

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Website

Free  |  Wildlife Conservation Society

Northern Forest Atlas   redirect

Website with photographic guides, digital atlases, and posters for plant identification

The Northern Forest Atlas was created to document the current biology of the forests and to provide tools for the next generation of naturalists and conservationists who will study and protect them. The Atlas was conceived by Ed McNeil and Jerry Jenkins in 2011, and began full-time operations in 2013. It has three main goals: to create a library of photos and air videos showing the landscapes, plants, and animals of the northern forest; to create photographic and diagrammatic atlases, both paper and digital, for plants and landscapes; and to design and produce a series of modern field guides to plants and ecology.

Tree Identification

Grade Level: K–12

Standards Alignment: NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

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Activity

Free  |  US Forest Service

Smokey the Bear: Smokey's Wildfire Prevention Detectives   redirect

Activities with educator guides

A complete language arts and science curriculum for grades 6–8. Students take on the role of forensic investigators in this program designed for the science/Earth science classroom. The program will reinforce critical thinking, speaking & writing, scientific inquiry, collaborative learning, and research skills in language arts, social studies, science & technical subjects, and health/safety.

These materials were created in 2007 and linked to the appropriate national education standards, Core Curriculum standards and North American Association of Environmental Education standards at the time of their development. Those standards may have changed, but the learning objectives remain the same, as outlined here.

Language Arts Science

Grade Level: 6–8

Standards Alignment: NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

calendar

Lesson Plan

Free  |  Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences

Forestry/Natural Resources Lesson Plans (K-5)   redirect

Lesson plans collection

A collection of lesson plans surrounding the topics of forestry and natural resource, submitted by educators.

Forestry Natural Resources

Grade Level: K–5

calendar

Lesson Plan

Free  |  Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences

Forestry/Natural Resources Lesson Plans (6-8)   redirect

Lesson plans collection

A collection of lesson plans surrounding the topics of forestry and natural resource, submitted by educators.

Forestry Natural Resources

Grade Level: 6–8

calendar

Lesson Plan

Free  |  Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences

Forestry/Natural Resources Lesson Plans (9-12)   redirect

Lesson plans collection

A collection of lesson plans surrounding the topics of forestry and natural resource, submitted by educators.

Forestry Natural Resources

Grade Level: 9–12

flag

Activity

Free, with a free AskNature account  |  Biomimicry Institute

We Are Not Alone   redirect

Activity with educator guide

In this interactive exercise the functions a building must perform are compared to the functions a tree must perform, helping students see that humans are not alone in our need to solve technological problems.

Science Technology Architecture Biomimicry

Grade Level: K–12

video

Video

Free, with a free AskNature account  |  Biomimicry Institute

Suzanne Simard: How trees talk to each other (TED Talk)   redirect

Video

A forest is much more than what you see,” says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery — trees communicate, often and over vast distances.

Science

Grade Level: 9–12

video

Video

Free, with a free AskNature account  |  Biomimicry Institute

Do Trees Communicate?   redirect

Video

In this 5 minute video University of British Columbia professor Suzanne Simard shows how all trees in a forest are interconnected.

Science

Grade Level: 9–12

open book

Illustrated Publication

Free, with a free AskNature account  |  Urban Greenprint

SeedKit: Design Concepts Learned from Pacific Northwest Forests   redirect

Digital booklet

How can a city function like a forest? What can we learn from Nature to improve the health, resilience, & livability of our cities? How can our buildings and roads sequester carbon, treat polluted runoff, and support biodiversity?

Science Technology Architecture Biomimicry

Grade Level: 9–12

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Activity

Free  |  earthforceresources.org

Earth Force   redirect

Classroom Activities

Earth Force provides a blended learning experience for educators to prepare them to conduct the Community Action and Problem Solving Process with their students. The Community Action and Problem Solving Process is a six-step model that combines civic engagement, environmental education, and STEM. Youth work with their educators to identify and research local environmental issues, resulting in a civic action project that addresses their selected issue.

civics

Grade Level: 6–12

document

Guide

Free  |  Arizona Forestry

Neighborhood Forests

Activity Guide

A learning guide developed for teachers to plan lessons and activites for students to understand the importance trees play in our communities.

Science math

Grade Level: K-5

document

Guide

Free  |  KidsGardening.org

Winter Blooms

Activity Guide

Many deciduous trees and shrubs form their flower buds the previous summer or fall and then enter a period of leafless winter dormancy. Because actively growing plants can't withstand freezing temperatures for an extended period, they have adapted by "resting" during the coldest months. By providing the same late winter/early spring conditions indoors that entice flowers and leaves to emerge outdoors, young gardeners can force branches to reveal their spring finery.

Science

Grade Level: K-12

calendar

Lesson Plan

Free  |  Next Generation Science Storylines

Next Generation Storylines: How do small changes make big impacts on ecosystems?

Lesson Plans with educator guide

In this second part of a two-part high school ecosystems unit, students investigate the claim that planting trees can help combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and storing carbon in wood. Students’ questions about where and how trees do this, sparks a series of investigations to pursue to track down where the carbon is going as it moves into and through different tissues in the tree (leaves, wood, and roots) that help students develop a model for how matter transformations and energy flow occurs in organisms and ecosystems.

Science Ecosystems

Grade Level: 9-12

Standards Alignment: NGSS

calendar

Lesson Plan

Free  |  The City College of New York School of Education

Unifying Life: Placing Urban Tree Diversity in an Evolutionary Context

Lesson Plans with educator guide

Unifying Life is a curriculum to help middle school students learn about the street trees that they see daily. Kids walk by trees and other plants every day and many cannot identify a maple or an oak. This curriculum uses Leafsnap (www.leafsnap.com), a cutting edge iPhone tree identification app to help students through careful observation.

Science Biodiversity

Grade Level: 6-9

Standards Alignment: NGSS

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Activity

Free  |  Data Nuggets

Tree-Killing Beetles

Activities with Educator Guide and Rubric

“Tree-killing beetles” begins with the phenomenon of lodgepole pine forest devastation by mountain pine beetle outbreaks. One scientist observed a potential correlation between tree size and beetle infestation. The driving question is, “How does the average tree size in a forest influence its susceptibility to mountain pine beetles?” The lesson involves discovering the scientist’s hypothesis, graphing and/or data analysis, making a claim, and providing evidence and reasoning to support the claim.

Science Biodiversity

Grade Level: 6-8

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Website

Free  |  Arbor Day Foundation

Carly's Kids Corner

Website

Carly's Kids Corner introduces early learners to the wonder of trees through digital activities such as "Leaf ID" and a "Junior Arborist" quiz and printable activity sheets.

Science

Grade Level: K-3


Tree Campus K-12 is an Arbor Day Foundation Program in collaboration with: