Keywords: cankers, fungus, galls, wilts, pests, borers, miners; Grade Level Lesson Plan: intermediate; Lesson Time: three 45-minute periods; Setting: forest and classroom

Goals for the Lesson

  • The students will investigate afflictions of trees.
  • The students will compare and contrast the health of a human to that of a tree.

Materials Needed

  • baggies
  • magazines
  • books
  • Internet connection
  • cameras


  • The teacher needs to canvass a forested area to find evidence of the maladies or find photos or pictures.
  • The teacher needs to obtain cameras, preferably digital.
Subject Covered: science

Science Standards: Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources (4.2); Ecosystems and Their Interactions (4.6); Threatened, Endangered, and Extinct Species (4.7); Humans and the Environment (4.9)


  1. Students will create sickness excuses for single to multiple days' absences.
  2. The teacher will then have students discuss the causes of these sicknesses.
  3. Next, the teacher will share with students that trees can get sick in similar ways. These will include virus and bacteria infections. They can get sick from insects, be afflicted by fungi, and even become ill from other things such as plants and animals.
  4. Students will then be partnered with other students to become a medical team that will study a medical problem that may distress the health of a tree. They must any research material available to create a report that will address to the "Dendrological Medical Convention" (their classmates).
  5. The teacher needs to discuss symptoms, such as the following:
    • holes in bark
    • eggs and pupae in bark
    • webs
    • holes in leaves
    • tunnels in leaves
    • galls
    • discoloration
    • dropping
    • fungus
    • rust
    • vines
    • cankers
    • man or animal damage
  6. The students will need to investigate trees to collect data and pictures for their presentation.
  7. The students will need to present not only the symptoms but also the treatment, if available.
  8. The students will present their reports.


The students will be assessed on their presentation. A rubric should be utilized.


Students may want to share their finding with their community.


Brown, Vinson. Reading the Woods.

4-H. Advancing in Forestry. (To order this publication contact , please include publication title in your request.)


Dennis G. Hahn, fifth grade teacher, Bushkill Elementary School, Nazareth Area School District