Keywords: trees, wood, paper, sap, and food; Grade Levels: first and second grade; Time Required: 45 minutes; Setting: classroom

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will identify the relationship of tree resources in a word sort.
  • Students will prioritize information from the word sort and the book by making a hierarchical map.

Materials Needed

  • Be a Friend to Trees by Patricia Lauber
  • One set of word sort cards /group on card stock
  • A teacher set of word sort cards on 3 x 5 index cards
  • A large brown tree cutout with the title "Things That Come from a Tree" written on the trunk

State Standards Addressed: (4.2.4B) E&E Standards, Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources

Subject: science, reading comprehension

Topic: things that come from trees


  1. Divide the class into groups of three and pass out a set of word cards to each group. Tell the children to look at the cards. Discuss what the cards have in common. They are words related to trees ! What would we do without trees? Explain that the word cards are related to products that come from trees and that each group will use the word cards to make four categories.
  2. Give the groups 3-5 minutes to sort the words, deciding on the categories and the words that belong in each category. The teacher is to observe and ask how students know that a card belongs in a particular category.
  3. Read the book Be a Friend to Trees . While the teacher is reading, students may adjust and move their words around. "Did anyone make changes? Why?"
  4. Using the teacher's set of word cards, the class will make a hierarchical map to show "Things That Come from a Tree." Use a large outline of a tree, with four main branches and smaller branches coming out from each of the main branches. Put the title on the trunk. Have students decide on the four categories and place each category card on one of the four main branches. Add the other cards to the appropriate branches.


Group word sorts should match the words and categories on the hierarchical tree map. Read and review what we get from a tree. Children should be able to conclude that we need trees and that we need to take good care of them.


Lauber, Patricia (1994). Be a Friend to Trees . New York, N.Y.: Harper Collins.


JoAnne Venturino, first grade teacher, Our Lady of Victory School, State College, Pa.