Activity Introduction

cc-primary12-heroQuick summary: During this lesson students explore the importance of trees in the environment. They observe their own sensory and emotional experiences of trees by participating in a Rake thinking tool. Then working as a class they gather insight from an inspirational picture book. Students will then use creative and descriptive language to write a poem about trees while immersed in, and inspired by, nature in the playground. They will then collectively decide how these poems will be used to inform and inspire others about the importance of trees.

This lesson is designed to be taught outside. It contains all the tools required for students to reap the benefits of being outdoors while learning the outcomes of the Australian Curriculum. By spending time outdoors and connecting to nature, students are more likely to care for and conserve nature as adults.


Essential questions:

  • Why are trees important?
  • What would the world be like without them?
  • How can we tell others about the importance of trees?
  • What can we do to protect trees?
  • What are the mental, physical and academic benefits of completing classroom activities outside?

21st century skills:

tree-rific skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:   

Year 5 English

  • Understand the use of vocabulary to express greater precision of meaning, and know that words can have different meanings in different contexts (ACELA1512)

Year 6 English

  • Investigate how vocabulary choices, including evaluative language can express shades of meaning, feeling and opinion (ACELA1525)

Syllabus outcomes: EN3-6B.

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 5 English achievement standards: Students select specific vocabulary and use accurate spelling and punctuation.

Relevant parts of Year 6 English achievement standards: Students make considered vocabulary choices to enhance cohesion and structure in their writing.

Topic: Outdoor Learning, Biodiversity.

Unit of work: Outdoor Learning Unit.

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – guide and oversee lesson.

Resources required: Seven large pieces of cardboard, each labelled with one of the following: Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, Smell, Thinking, Feeling/Emotion. Seven whiteboard markers or thick textas. The book Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola. Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet.

Digital technology opportunities: QR codes, digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Sustainability, English, literacy, poetry, writing, nature, outdoor, tree, planting, outdoor learning.

Cool Australia would like to thank The Albert George & Nancy Caroline Youngman Trust – managed by Equity Trustees.

Youngman Trust Logo

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

cc-primary2-heroTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students understand the value and importance of trees to humans and our environment. They recognise how they can use their senses to experience trees, and understand how to convey these experiences into poetry. They recognise how their poetry can be used to convince other people about the importance of trees.

Outdoor learning information:

Outdoor Learning Series:


To help guide teachers through suggested activities in this lesson, we have developed a series of icons designed to show what types of activities are involved and where these activities may take place (see Learning Activity Key below).

learning activity icons key updated-v3

This lesson is designed to support students and teachers undertaking the Outdoor Learning Unit. Click here to view the Unit Outline.

Teacher content

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What if trees were made of plastic?

Part A. How do I experience trees?

Your class is going to head outside to observe trees and how you experience them. You will spend about five minutes standing, sitting or lying quietly in nature, observing the trees around you. Afterwards, complete the table below.


What do trees feel like?


What do trees smell like?


What might trees taste like? (WARNING - some trees are toxic do don't actually try tasting them!)


What do you see when you look at trees?


What do trees sound like?


How does being around trees make you feel?


What does being around trees make you think about?

Part B. Five senses poem

Write a poem that uses short, descriptive phrases or sentences that describe how you perceive trees, using each of your five senses.

Think about the following points when writing your poem:

  • Does your poem
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