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close this bookEnvironmental Education in the Schools (Peace Corps, 1993)
close this folderActivities, activities and more activities
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUsing the senses
View the documentAdopt-a-tree
View the documentDuplication
View the documentMusic/rap/dance/drama
View the documentGarbage shuffle
View the documentThe rain forest revue
View the documentThe all new water review
View the documentOriginal skit
View the documentBotswana adaptation
View the documentA conservation drama - Trouble in Tikonkowo
View the documentThe awful eight
View the documentRole plays and other simulations
View the documentThe commons dilemma
View the documentKey mangrove: A system in conflict
View the documentChange in a mangrove ecosystem
View the documentKey mangrove: A conflict of interests
View the documentPoints of view
View the documentMining on the moon
View the documentMining on the moon: Part 1
View the documentMining on the moon: Part 2
View the documentThe reading and writing connection
View the documentFolk stories
View the documentSelected quotes
View the documentA heated controversy
View the documentA heated controversy: Part 1
View the documentA heated controversy: Part 2
View the documentAn environmental education tool - The creative journal
View the documentCubatao: New life in the Valley of Death
View the documentA letter from the village health worker - Clean water for elemit
View the documentLife without oil
View the documentPoetry
View the documentAway with waste!
View the documentAway on the bay
View the documentPicture poetry
View the documentShades of meaning
View the documentPoetry trail
View the documentPoetry trail activity sheet
View the documentCartoons, fantasy, and creative
View the documentThe rare scare
View the documentCartoons and headlines
View the documentHoley ozone!
View the documentGuided imagery
View the documentFlight of fantasy
View the documentRiparian retreat
View the documentWater wings
View the documentDemonstrations
View the documentOur watery world
View the documentKeep on truckin'
View the documentHow do polyps build reefs?
View the documentInvestigations and experiments
View the documentAcid tests
View the documentAcid demonstrations: Part I
View the documentAcid demonstrations: Part II
View the documentAcid test follow-up
View the documentHow can an oil spill be cleaned up?
View the documentThe case for case studies
View the documentAre we creating deserts? - The Sahel famine
View the documentStudent information - Famine in the Sahel: A case study
View the documentDesertification
View the documentSustainable development
View the documentDefining sustainable development: Part 1
View the documentDefining sustainable development: Part 2
View the documentCase study: United States: Part 3
View the documentCase study: Thailand: Part 4
View the documentCase study: Tanzania: Part 5
View the documentMoral dilemmas
View the documentThe flying foxes of Samoa
View the documentHarry Carter's grain company
View the documentScenario: Harry Carter's grain company: Part 1
View the documentScenario: Harry Carter's grain company: Part 2
View the documentScenario: Harry Carter's grain company: Part 3
View the documentHard choices
View the documentStarving nation
View the documentConcept mapping and webbing
View the documentAqua words
View the documentInfusion activity for environmental health
View the documentIssue webbing
View the documentField trips
View the documentAt the dump and postcards from the field
View the documentThe garbage dump field trip worksheet
View the documentSeaside adventure
View the documentDebates
View the documentTough choices
View the documentThe issues
View the documentSurveys
View the documentGlass and metal waste questionnaire
View the documentModel questionnaire
View the documentData summary sheet
View the documentRivers through time
View the documentWhat do people think?
View the documentGames
View the documentPollution bingo
View the documentMammal know-it-all
View the documentMammal questions
View the documentBat and moth
View the documentBranching out: Bat math
View the documentThe urban explosion
View the documentFour urban activities
View the documentVandalism: Disordered communications
View the documentFlooded streets
View the documentGetting outside
View the documentExpanding sensory perception
View the documentWeather scavenger hunt
View the documentInsect bingo
View the documentResearch/guest speakers
View the documentDesert quest
View the documentValues and attitudes
View the documentRare bird eggs for sale
View the documentWhat would you do?
View the documentAgricultural practices (A)
View the documentAgricultural practices (B)
View the documentWhy save rain forests?
View the documentThinking about thinking skills
View the documentThe great swamp debate
View the documentGo with the flow
View the documentDragonfly pond
View the documentCooperative learning activities
View the documentJungle sleuths
View the documentAnswers to scenarios
View the documentSuper-sleuth scenarios: Part 1
View the documentSuper-sleuth scenarios: Part 2
View the documentWe can all be experts
View the documentExpert cards: Part 1
View the documentExpert cards: Part 2
View the documentRaters of the planet ECO
View the documentLiven up your classroom
View the documentA web on the wall
View the documentBuilding the bulletin board
View the documentMembers of the web
View the documentA look at four food chains
View the documentThe interdisciplinary connection
View the documentPollution pathways
View the documentTracking the radiation (day 2- day 10)
View the documentPollution pathways (A)
View the documentPollution pathways (B)
View the documentSizing up reserves
View the documentSizing up reserves (A)
View the documentScience/technology/society
View the documentChallenge technology
View the documentTechnology challenges
View the documentAdditional challenges (developed for the South Pacific)
View the documentThe ''good'' bacteria controversy
View the documentTaking action for the planet


List the basic characteristics of a tree as determined by observation.

Primary, intermediate

Language arts, humanities, science

A tree (Optional: a journal, tape recorder, camera)

This activity may be conducted as a class project, with a class divided into groups of three or four students each, or with students working individually. Several related activities are included in this section.

This activity begins with adopting a tree (or trees) near or on your school site. If there are no trees nearby, you might bring a potted tree to your classroom or try to have a tree planted on the school grounds. "Adopting-a-tree" is a valuable way to initiate a unit of study on trees with any age group.


* Visit the adopted tree(s)

* Describe the tree as it is right now, today.

* Look at its physical characteristics (size, leaf shape, bark color, and other features)O

* Look to see whether it is alive. How can you tell?

* Look to see whether it appears to be asleep (dormant) or awake. How can you tell?

* Listen to find out whether it makes any sounds.

* Smell to find out whether it has an odor. Do different parts of the tree smell different-like bark, old leaves, new leaves?

* Think about whether the tree and its parts might smell different to you at other times of the year.

* Think about how the tree got where it is and how new trees might come to join it.

* Think about what other living things might need this tree for survival.

* Think about what things the tree might need for its own

* Think about how long the tree might live.

Warning: Do not taste any part of the tree.

Repeat the visits throughout the year and compare observations made each time.

* Look to see how the tree has changed.
* Look to see in what ways the tree has remained the same.
* Think and talk about what the tree might look like the next time you visit it.


Once back in the classroom, and now that you and your students have adopted a tree, you might ask your students to tell you what they think a tree is. Accept all statements offered and be careful to record the students' exact words and phrases. List the statements on the chalk- board; discuss and make any changes suggested. When statements have been agreed upon, you and the students can put them together in the form of a poster, chart, or bulletin board.

Here are some sample statements:

A tree is a living thing.

A tree has many parts, just as people have many parts to their bodies.

There are the trunk (main torso), bark (skin), branches (arms, legs), leaves or needles (hair).

Trees have names. (The children mention some names of trees.)

A tree has many uses. (You and the students may wish to list some. )

A tree interacts with and is dependent upon many other organisms, such as insects, mammals, and birds.


These initial activities can help you decide on follow-up projects by indicating what the students already know, what their interests are, and the kinds of additional information they might acquire.

1. Brainstorm from 10 to 15 adjectives that could be used to describe a tree. These words can be used to write a poem (haiku or cinquain) or short paragraph about the tree.

2. Create and present a short story, puppet show, or play about the tree's parents and/or its offspring.

3. Imagine sounds you might hear near the tree. Can you hear leaves moving, animals, birds? Write a brief description of these sounds, inventing appropriate words, if necessary. Imagine you are looking at the tree. What colors and shapes do you see? Write a brief description, using your new words, of how the tree looks, smells, feels, and sounds.

4. Write a brief imaginary conversation with your tree. What might your tree think, see, feel, hear, and smell? (You may wish to record the conversations on tape.)

5. Imagine you are a radio or television reporter interviewing a person, bird, or other animal that lives in a forest or in a tree. Write down some questions you might ask, such as: How do you like your home? Who are your neighbors? What do you do for a living?

6. Take a tree to lunch. During lunch, consider these and other questions:

* What is it like under the tree?

* What animals visit the tree while you are there?

* What kind of help, if any, is the tree getting from people (watering, feeding, pruning), and does it need that help?

* Why and when does it need help?

* What kinds of things, if any, are damaging the tree?

* Has the tree cast seeds? Have any seeds developed into seedlings?

* How does the tree take care of itself?

* How much of its history can you observe? Has it had any accidents (such as being hit by lightning)?

* Is the tree crowded by other trees or by buildings?

"If a I had influence with the good fairy...I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life."

-Rachel Carson

7. See whether your tree makes a shadow. Watch the changes in your tree's shadow at different times of the day and during different times of the year.

8. See whether you can use your tree, without hurting it, to make a sundial. Can it help you keep time?

9. Make paintings, drawings, or photographs of the shapes and shades of color you find when sunlight and shadows can be seen on and around your tree.

10. Describe your tree in enough detail so that someone else can recognize it. Share what you have learned by inviting someone else to visit your tree-and be sure to visit your friend's tree, too.