This activity helps students understand what trees need to live and
grow in the environment. They will also realize that trees sometimes
interact or compete with other organisms as well as each other.
- Paper plates
- Two squares of blue,
yellow and green paper
for each student. These
are mixed together.
- Colored markers or
- Project Learning Tree, Activity Book, Activity 27 “Every Tree For
- Educational Insights Discover and Activity Kit: Tree Rings (Hands
On Nature Kit) 1991.
- Give each student a round circle of paper approximately ten
inches in diameter (e.g., paper plates). Have each student
imagine that this is a cross section of his/her life as a tree. On
this circle, draw rings to represent his/her own lifes years. The
rings should vary in size: the years of much growth should have
wider rings than years of less growth.
- Students should position themselves around the room. Placing
their cross section on the floor, they need to stand with one foot
on their tree of life.
- Distribute the colored squares randomly on the floor around the
students so the squares are about one or two feet apart. Each
colored square represents the requirements of a tree for survival:
blue is water, yellow is sunlight, and green is nutrients.
- Play Tree Cookie Combat. The game is played by having each tree gather as many squares as they can when the signal is
given. On the signal, trees must reach with their roots and
branches (arms and legs) to gather their requirements. One foot,
(the tap root!), must remain planted on their cross section at all
times and there is NO SLIDING!!
- Questions to ask:
- Were you successful in gathering your needs?
- Did any tree fail to get its requirements?
- What would happen if you were really a tree without these
- Is there such a thing as too much water? sun? nutrients?
- The size of growth rings on a tree is based on the kinds of
years that tree experiences. Look at the size of your growth
rings. Based on the rings drawn, create a fraction of the good
years in your life. Do the same for difficult years. Are they
tied to nutrition? sunlight? water? Are there other things that
affect a tree? What conclusions can you draw?
- Graph the information from the classroom experiences.
- Extend this to family trees. Have students create their own
family trees to represent their family. This is another “tree of