This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about trees. It is designed to complement the Trees topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Discuss trees with your students. Invite them to describe different trees they’ve seen in their community. If time allows, go outside and observe real trees or look at pictures in magazines or books. How are the trees alike? How are they different? Explain that there are many different types of trees, but most have similar structures and functions. The crown is at the top is made up of leaves, branches, and twigs. The leaves take in sunlight and air to make food for the tree through a process called photosynthesis. The trunk is the stem of the tree and it supports the tree as it grows, as well as brings water from its roots up to the leaves. The bark protects the tree from weather and animals.

Explain to students that the life cycle of a tree is a long process that can last thousands of years. A tree begins as a seed that sprouts roots and leaves. As the plant takes in water and nutrients, it develops into a sapling, or a young tree. As time passes, it grows into an adult tree that blossoms flowers or grows fruits or nuts, which fall to the ground and release seeds. Then the cycle begins again. You can tell the age of a tree by counting the rings inside its trunk.

There are two main types of trees: deciduous and coniferous. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall, and sprout new ones in the spring. They grow flowers and fruit, which contain seeds. Coniferous trees usually do not shed their leaves—they stay green all year round. Instead of flowers or fruit, they have cones that contain seeds.

Remind students that trees are a vital natural resource. We get fruits, vegetables, nuts, maple syrup and even some medicines from trees. People rely on trees for timber to build houses and use wood for everything from paper to furniture. But the most important thing trees do is provide oxygen. They take the carbon dioxide we breathe out and convert it into oxygen. Forests provide oxygen for the entire planet, in addition to providing homes for many living things.

The destruction of trees can negatively impact the environment and it’s our responsibility to care for our planet. Together with students, brainstorm ways people can reduce, reuse, and recycle products that come from trees. What are other things we can do to conserve and help trees? Encourage students to become good global citizens and be aware of how they use these precious natural resources.