Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Planting Trees
Lesson 4
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


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


Five 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.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

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


  • 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)
Handout 1
Planting Trees!

Instructional Procedure(s):

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.

  • 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 EnchantedLearning.com.)

  • 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.

Bibliographical References:

Lesson Developed By:

Heather Bias
Southgate Community Schools
Chormann Elementary
Southgate, MI 48195


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Planting Trees!

Directions: Write the tree part on the line that matches with the function described.

Cambium canopy of leaves heartwood
inner bark (phloem) outer bark roots
Sapwood branches trunk
  1. The main support of the tree. ____________________
  2. The protective outer layer of the truck. ____________________
  3. The structures that obtain food and water from the soil, store energy, provide support for the plant. ____________________

  4. The upper parts of the tree, where the branches and leaves are located. ____________________

  5. The core of the trunk that contains very strong, dead tissue that supports the tree. ___________________

  6. Woody parts of the tree that grow from the trunk. ____________________

  7. A single layer of living cells in the trunk that is located between the sapwood and the inner bark. It produces the sapwood and the inner bark. ____________________

  8. The layers of wood just outside the heartwood. ____________________

  9. The layer of the trunk through which the tree’s food flows-it is located between the outer bark and the cambium. When this short-lived layer dies, it is called cork. ____________________

Philanthropy Framework:

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