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Resource Language:


Regional Focus

North America

Urban Trees

Authors: The Nature Conservancy, Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC)
Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th
Subjects: Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Health, Climate Action
Format: PDF
Resource Types:
  • Video, 4 minutes , 45 seconds
  • Video, 1 minute, 16 seconds
  • Video, 43 seconds
  • Activity
  • Video, 49 seconds
  • Video, 56 seconds
  • Video, 1 minute, 2 seconds
  • Video, 1 minute, 1 second
  • 5 part unit of 45 minute lessons where students: 
    • Describe the benefits of trees to humans and to the greater ecosystem.
    • Predict and analyze the temperature difference of soil in the shade of a tree compared to soil in the direct sun.
    • Draw a map of school grounds and indicate tree location. 
    • Identify types of trees using a dichotomous key, tree identification guide, or app. 
    • Identify potential threats to tree species and learn what can be done to stop the spread of invasive species. 
    • Develop and engage in an action plan to promote tree conservation and stewardship in their local community. 
    • Evaluate how their knowledge of trees as a resource and asset to their community has changed.
Teaching Tips


  • An excellent unit of 5, 45-minute lessons incorporating tree conservation practices, hands-on science experiments, and direct actions to improve tree cover and quality in urban areas.

Additional Prerequisites

  • A review of photosynthesis, the importance of soil, and trees as habitats would be a welcome opener to start this unit. 


  • There are many optional activities, videos, and readings included in the lesson plans, so the teacher may need to decide which ones they want to include in their unit plan.
Scientist Notes
The resource will provide students the knowledge to logically develop a tree conservation plan. This resource is recommended for teaching
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
      • MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
      • MS-ETS1-3 Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
      • MS-ETS1-4 Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
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