Planting Trees

3, 4, 5

This experiential lesson will allow students to plant trees and see the positive effects of humans on their environment.

Lesson Rating 
PrintFive Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • recall details about the Civilian Conservation Corp.
  • provide service to the community where he/she lives by planting trees.
  • reflect on his/her service to the community.
  • identify the various functions of the parts of a tree.
  • sketch a map of the area where he/she will be planting trees.
  • Notebook paper (3 pieces per student)
  • Blank white paper (1 piece per student)
  • Planting tools
  • Tree seedlings (Join the Arbor Foundation for $10 and receive 10 free trees)
  • Tree Parts and Functions (Attachment One)


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask students to recall details about the Civilian Conservation Corp. Have students recall these details by either drawing a picture or writing down details on a sheet of notebook paper. Have students share their ideas and illustrations with the whole group.

  2. Ask students to get into small groups and discuss how the activities of the Civilian Conservation Corp positively affected the environment. Have one member of each group share what was discussed.

    • Next, have groups discuss ways in which they can positively affect the environment they live in. Have one member of each group share what was discussed.
    • Explain to students that they will have the opportunity to have a positive effect on their environment by planting trees in a nearby area.
    • The following day, give each student a sheet of notebook paper and have students reflect by journaling about how they feel about doing a tree-planting project. Ask students to share what they have written.
    • Then, model for students how to create a map of a given area. Take students to the designated planting area and give them a sheet of paper to create their own maps of the planting area. They may work in teams. Have students save their maps for later use.
    • On Day Three, teach the functions of the various parts of a tree. (Tree anatomy picture with an explanation of tree part functions is available from
    • Give each student a sheet of notebook paper and show them how to fold the paper into three vertical columns. On a diagram of a tree, point to one specific part. Have students sketch the tree part at the top of the first column. (They will be drawing several parts down this column.) In the next column, have the students write down their best guesses of the function of that tree part. Point to other parts one-by-one and repeat the two steps for each. Next, teach the functions of each tree part, and have students write this information in the third column. Have students compare what they thought they knew about the function of the plant part to the actual function.
    • Then have students take out their maps. Discuss possible planting areas and assign planting areas for groups.
    • The following day, explain to students how to plant their trees. (Use information from the Arbor Foundation on planting.) Then, take students to the designated planting area. Have students work in groups to plant trees.
    • On Day Five, give students a sheet of notebook paper to reflect on their experiences of planting trees. Use the following questions as a guide.
      • How do you feel after completing this project?
      • How did you affect your environment by planting a tree?
      • How did you affect your community by planting a tree?
      • Compare and contrast your experience of planting a tree to the experiences of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The teacher will evaluate students' discussions about the Civilian Conservation Corp for accuracy. The teacher will look at students' planting area maps for accuracy. Have students complete a matching worksheet, Tree Parts and Functions (Attachment One). The teacher will observe students' participation in the project and use students' reflections as an assessment.

Cross Curriculum 

Students will complete an Academic Service-Learning project by planting trees in their community.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      3. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      4. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.
    3. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe the process of program evaluation.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.
      3. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.