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Regional Focus

  • Global

What Happens If We Cut Down All of a City’s Trees?

Author: TED-Ed
Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Biology, History, Geography, Health, Climate Action
Format: YouTube Video
Resource Type:
  • Video, 5 minutes, 25 seconds
  • This TED-Ed animated video describes historical examples of trees benefiting human civilizations and provides an explanation of why trees can be so beneficial to humans in urban and agricultural areas. Students will learn how trees: 
    • Filter water.
    • Store excess storm water.
    • Filter pollutants from the air.
    • Stabilize soils.
    • Absorb and store carbon dioxide, preventing climate change.
    • Provide shade to buildings and sidewalks, reducing temperatures indoors and out.
    • Provide mental health benefits.
    • Provide habitat to many species, protecting biodiversity.
Teaching Tips


  • This is an easy-to-understand animated video that describes the many benefits of trees that students may not be familiar with. It provides real-world examples from human history.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This should be basic enough for most students to follow.


  • You might want to pause the video to elaborate on some topics depending on the class or the age of students.
Scientist Notes
The resource underscores the arboreal benefits of tree in an urban space to mitigate climate change impact, reduce pollution, and improve air and water quality. The resource is valid and recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.1.6-8 Analyze connections among events and developments in broader historical contexts.
      • D2.His.15.6-8 Evaluate the relative influence of various causes of events and developments in the past.
    • Dimension 3: Developing Claims and Using Evidence
      • D3.4.3-5 Use evidence to develop claims in response to compelling questions.


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