Activity 2.1
Introducing a tree – let’s build one

This is an activity based on ‘Build a tree’ by Joseph Cornell. It aims to familiarise children with the ways trees work, and teach them what is going on in different parts of a tree, and why.

It is hoped the activity will help the children develop a sense of wonder at how nature works, by getting a glimpse into the amazing processes that are going on all the time inside what might normally seem “just another tree.” Trees are the largest life form on the earth and are vital to human survival on this planet.

Cornell emphasises that we need to start with where our learners are “at”; that is, approach the topic through their point of view and then steer – rather than push – them through a sequence of activities to the learning goal.

Learners will have/be able to:

  • Describe the parts of a tree and their functions.
  • Use words and a variety of media to express ideas, observations and feelings
  • Build and express a personal relationship, based on first-hand experience, with the natural world
  • Assess risk and take informed decisions
  • Work cooperatively with partners and in teams, building trust
  • Be self–aware, active and achieve a feeling of well–being


  • Flat, outdoor space
    Preferably close to a tree – or indoor hall
  • Sit–upons/plastic bags
    If wet
  • A slice of a log (optional)
    Or nearby stump
  • 2.1A Activity script
    As a prompt for leader/helpers
  • Magnifiers (optional)
    each – to look at pores/stomata

Comments are closed.