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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Tree Life Cycle Creative Movement

Lesson Description:
  • Students will use their bodies and creative movement to act out the life cycle of a tree.
  • Eco-fact: A single tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen per year. that means two mature trees can supply enough oxygen annually to support a family of four.

Before conducting the lesson:
  • Ask every student to stand up, away from desks, with ample room to move without touching the person nearby.
  • Tell students that they are going to use the movement of their bodies to act out the life stages of a tree.

Tree Life Cycle Creative Movement:
  • Become a seed: Ask students: how are trees born? (from a seed). Students curl up in a tight ball to become a seed.
  • Become a sprout: Ask students: what happens to a seed? (it sprouts). Start to slowly uncurl yourself. Stand on your knees.
  • Grow branches: Ask students: what are the parts of trees that leaves are attached to? (branches). Slowly stick out one arm with your fist clenched so you’ve grown one branch. Stick out another arm. Your tree now has two branches.
  • Grow taller: Stand up tall putting your feet together. Your tree is growing taller and older.
  • Grow leaves: Wiggle your fingers to represent leaves. Rub fingers together—listen to the leaves.
  • Spread your roots: Spread feet apart. Now your tree has lots of roots. Wiggle your toes—you grow lots of little roots.
  • Sway with the breeze: Hold arms up and gently move and sway arms side to side.
  • Get attacked by insects: Scratch all over as insects attack you.
  • Get struck by lightning: Bang—a bolt of lightning strikes a branch. Everyone loses a branch (one arm to the side).
  • Get pecked by woodpeckers: Make a hammering sound and shake. woodpeckers peck into your dead wood. Another branch falls off. (Put another arm down.)
  • Get blown over in a storm: Make a creaking noise, lean to side and fall to the ground. You blow down in a storm.
  • New seed sprouts: Gradually raise one arm. A new seed slowly sprouts from your old rotting wood.

After conducting the activity:
  • Discuss the life cycle of a tree. ask students what they have learned about the life cycle of a tree.
  • Each student can create a drawing depicting the life cycle of a tree. once the students complete their drawings, each student can share his or her life cycle drawing with the class.

  • Students can try the activity outside among real trees to better understand the life cycle of a tree.
  • Students can label the parts of the trees in their drawings depicting the life cycle of a tree.

  • Students can take a field trip to a park, forest, or national park to learn more about the life cycle of trees.
  • Students can chose a tree in the schoolyard to observe during the school year.
  • Visit the National Green Week lessons for grade one relating to trees.

Lesson Type:
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Gardening

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Thumb Challenge

Time Needed:
20 minutes
Materials Needed:
  • Enough space for students to move around

School or Group:
Contact Email:

The Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse is brought to you in partnership with

Center for Green Schools