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K-2 Tree Activities tie in with Iowa Core

Good morning! Brrr it is cold here in Iowa today, I hope this post finds you staying warm and cozy. Schools have been delayed and therefore my lessons have been pushed back. What better time than the present to write a blog post?

Winter is a great time to incorporate tree activities into your curriculum. Not only do learning about trees tie in perfectly with Iowa core standards but students can take advantage of the winter months to easily observe the differences between bare deciduous tree and green needled conifers.

Today I will walk you through our "All about Tree's" lesson plan. Find the complete lesson plan and downloads on our website January | mysite ( First up, watch the introductory video! I discuss in detail how to utilize the materials. This is a great lesson for K-2nd grade students but can easily be modified for older grades.

Important vocabulary words

Conifer: a tree that bears cones and evergreen needlelike or scale-like leaves

Deciduous trees: lose their leaves at the end of their growing season.

Harvest: the gathering of a crop

Orchard: a place where fruit or tree nuts are grown

I begin by collecting samples of evergreens (conifers) and deciduous trees in Ziploc bags. I ask the students to brainstorm similarities and differences. You can set this up as stations, have the students work in groups or hold the samples under a document camera. Students will mention color, leaves/needles, size, shape, texture, etc.

We read about the differences between conifers and deciduous trees in the story "The Forest where Ashley Lives."

I emphasize to the students the key concepts from the story: Trees are essential to our survival, we often don’t think of trees when we think agriculture, but trees provide us with products, habitats for wildlife, improved air quality and increased biological diversity.

A conifer is a tree that bears cones and evergreen needlelike or scale-like leaves Uses: Christmas trees, decorations, wildlife habitat, building construction, furniture, pencils, etc.

Deciduous trees lose their leaves at the end of their growing season. Uses: fruit, nuts, pulp, lumber, wildlife habitat, windbreaks, syrup, paper, etc.

Many students were curious about how paper is made so what better way than to have the students take charge of their own learning, we did a little bit of research and found this graphic showing how the tree is cut down, made into mulch, cooked and flattened into paper.

Other activities on our website: January | mysite (

-Book "The Forest where Ashley Lives"

-Product riddles

-Tree PowerPoint

-Product review

-Tree craft

Homework: instruct the students to investigate the type of trees they have around their house or in their community. Students can draw a picture, take a picture, write it down, etc.

Hope you enjoy these resources! As always, we would love to hear how you incorporate our lessons into your curriculum. Email us today!


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