Keywords: tree identification, tree natural history, map making, recycling; Grade Level: fourth grade to adult; Total Time for Lesson: several class periods and homework; Setting: tour route should be close walking distance to school. All work can be done in classroom late spring, summer, or early fall (when leaves are on trees)

Materials Needed

  • Papermaking supplies

    • large, square pan 3 inches deep

    • 3 cups warm water

    • water to fill 1/3 of pan

    • 1 1/2 sheets of newspaper; fine mesh wire screen (like window screen) to fit into pan

    • rolling pin

    • whole section of newspaper

    • blender

  • 8 1/2 in. x 11 in. paper

  • yarn or string

  • crayons

  • tree field guides

Goal for the Lesson

  • Students will create a tree tour booklet focusing on five trees near their school.

Concepts to Be Covered

  • Trees are fun to study.

  • Street trees can be convenient, interesting specimens

  • Trees inspire artists, writers, and poets.

  • Paper can be recycled to use again.


Visiting Five Trees

  1. The teacher should pre-select five very different trees. (For a more interesting tour, choose trees with different leaf shapes such as needles, simple, compound, and palmate as well as native and exotic tree species.)

  2. Take the class on a tour of the five trees with a good tree field guide. Go over a simple tree key and how to identify these trees.

Tree Pages

Each student creates five tree pages, one page for each tree featured on the tour. Each tree page should include the common and Latin names of the species; a bark rubbing, leaf print, and simple drawing of the trees shape; and a short paragraph with natural history about that tree (could include country of origin, tree uses, and so forth).

Dividing Up the Work

The class needs to be divided into four different creative groups: the artists (map makers), the writers (introduction and tree story), the poets (tree poem), and the puzzle makers (activity page).

  1. The artists are responsible for making a simple map of the tree tour. Indicate major landmarks such as school buildings and streets and identify the location of the five trees with a number and a special tree symbol. The numbered symbol will correspond with a tree page all about that specific tree.

  2. The writers will create a short introduction page ("Why are we creating this tour?" and "Why do we think trees are important?") and write a short story, fiction or fact, about trees.

  3. The poets will collaborate on a poem about trees.

  4. The puzzle makers can design a fun, tree-based activity or two such as a seek-and-find, a crossword puzzle, a "can you find all the tree products in this picture" drawing, or a puzzle to cut out and assemble.

Papermaking the Book Cover (from Georgia-Pacific "Educational In Nature" 8/97, Volume 4 "Manufacturing": number I "Paper Recycling")

Each student needs to make two pieces of recycled paper: one for the front cover and one for the back cover. Assemble all papermaking materials on a large work surface and proceed with the following:

  1. Tear the 1 1 /2 newspaper sheets into tiny pieces.

  2. Put the pieces and 3 cups of warm water into blender, cover it, and turn to medium speed for 5 seconds. This is pulp!

  3. Place the screen on the bottom of the pan and cover with 1 inch of water.

  4. Pour one cup of pulp over the screen and spread it around evenly with your fingers.

  5. Lift the screen and let the water drain.

  6. Put the screen (pulp side up) on the section of newspaper. Close the newspaper and flip it over so the the pulp is now face down.

  7. Take the rolling pin and roll out the excess water. Open the newspaper and remove the screen.

  8. Leave the newspaper open a d let the pulp dry overnight. In the morning, peel the "recycled paper" away from the newspaper.

  9. Write the name of your tree tour on the cover piece and decorate.

Assembling the Tree Tour Book

  1. Make enough copies of the map, the introduction, the story, the poem, and the activity page so that every student has a copy of each. Each student should also have their five tree pages and two pieces of recycled paper.

  2. Have students stack the pages face up going from back to front to create the book.

  3. When in desired order, punch two holes through the pages with a hole punch, thread the yarn or string through, and tie securely.

  4. Students should sign their books.

Congratulations on the completion of your tree tour books! Now share them with other classes, friends, or family. They can visit your trees and have a totally "tree-mendous" experience through your tree pages, writings, artwork, and games.


Marie Tramontina, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia, Pa.