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The Nature Conservancy, Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC)


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Health, Climate Action

Resource Types

  • Video, 4 minutes , 45 seconds
  • Video, 1 minute, 16 seconds
  • Video, 43 seconds
  • Activity - Outdoors
  • Video, 49 seconds
  • Video, 56 seconds
  • Video, 1 minute, 2 seconds
  • Video, 1 minute, 1 second

Regional Focus

North America



Urban Trees

Ask a Question

  • This resource is comprised of of five 45-minute lessons where students will learn about the benefits of trees, predict and analyze the temperature difference of soil in the shade and direct sun, draw a map of all trees on their school grounds, and identify trees using a dichotomous key, tree identification guide, or app. 
  •  Students will also learn about potential threats to tree species in their area and develop and engage in an action plan to promote tree conservation and stewardship in their local community. 

Teaching Tips


  • This is an excellent unit, incorporating tree conservation practices, hands-on science experiments, and direct actions to improve tree cover in urban areas.

Additional Prerequisites

  • A review of photosynthesis and 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.
  • Social studies classes can connect this resource to lessons about social justice, environmental justice, or the health affects of climate change in urban areas.
  • Science classes can use any of these lessons to connect to lessons about photosynthesis, evapotranspiration, plants, or biodiversity.
Scientist Notes
The resource will provide students the knowledge to logically develop a tree conservation plan. This resource is recommended for teaching

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
      • 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.
  • Science
    • 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.
    • 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.
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