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Teacher Materials

These Trees is an online project that encourages students to become local experts and share that learning with a world wide audience. This project has been especially designed to help teachers and students in remote areas to participate. The following page will provide ideas you can use to guide students as they complete the project. Some articles from the Teachers Talking Web site that you might find useful are listed below. Do not feel you must read these documents in order to particpate; they are provided as additional support.

These Trees

Values, attitudes, and behaviours: The essential environment

Themes for active learning

Co-operative learning

Moving forward with co-operation

Interpersonal skills for learning

Assessment: Self-assessment and reflective journals

If you are interested, you may see other similar activities in Module 5 of the Multigrade and Bilingual Classes in VietNam.

The Importance of Trees

 You could begin by asking students to brainstorm all they know about local trees, and what makes them important. To generate more ideas, you can prompt students to consider the following questions:

  • How do trees contribute to conditions that support life?
  • What are examples of trees that provide living places and food for animals?
  • In what ways have people used trees and their products for different purposes?
  • How are trees in the area suited to the local habitat?
  • How do the roots of trees help the soil and landscape?

Choosing a Tree to Analyse

Once students have brainstormed as much as they can, they may work as a class or in smaller groups or pairs for the next activity. Below is a small version of the chart with a larger version available from the Student Page for printing out and filling in. To make the chart into a Web page automatically, use the Interactive Handout. Students should choose a local tree to analyse using the items in the charts.

Name of tree:

Where it grows


Parts of the tree

Features of the tree
(Describe these features)















Special features


Birds, animals or insects that use the tree


How people use the tree


Comparing learning

Help students look closely, notice details, and make educated guesses based on what they see and know. You can bring in local experts like farmers or scientists to help students. These people should help students think, not provide the answers. Once students have completed their charts, you might want to compare the findings for all or some of the trees they studied.

Name of the tree:

Pine tree

Green dragon cactus

Where it grows

hill, roadside, forest

ground, sand (delta and mid land)


pin shaped, long, sharp points

stem looks like a leaf, (like a green dragon)


straight, many branches at top

trunk is itself the leaves


rough, easy to peel, peels sometimes???, brown color

thick, smooth


shallow, expansive

thin and fine



small, delicate


brown color, elliptical, thorny skin with overlapping pieces

red color, elliptical


like rice

like black sesame seeds

Special features

planted for liquid, fruit and wood

flower blossom at night, is very fragrant and dies that night

Animals living on it

birds, squirrel, ants, insects, spider, monkey

ants, insects, butterflies

How people use it

shade, wind break, building material


Seeing the Poetry in Trees

 Many poems have been written inspired by trees. These range from short haiku capturing a moment of life to longer poems reflecting on the purpose of life itself. Poetry can also focus completely on clear descriptive writing and sharp images. A poem can also be fun: think about what kind of person a particular tree would be or use sounds to illustrate the nature of the tree's life. Also consider an extended metaphor poem where each part of the tree represents or symbolises something of the community. For example, the roots might be the crops the farmers grow that link the community to the earth, the bark might be the buildings that offer protection from the weather, etc.

Putting it all Together

Now that students have explored the trees in their area and perhaps expressed themselves in art or poetry, it's time to use the Interactive Handout.

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Last revised October, 1999
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