Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students choose a tree they can observe over a period of time and record changes and observations. Students design a diagram to show how the tree interacts with the environment, other plants and animals. They include in their diagram the benefits to people and the impact people may have on the tree.

We’ve taken elements of this lesson and adapted them for remote learning. You can find this activity here.

Learning goals:

  • Collect and analyse data about changes in a tree over time.
  • Show relationships between the tree, our environment and other living things, including people.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 3 Science

  • Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (ACSSU044)
  • Suggest ways to plan and conduct investigations to find answers to questions (ACSIS054)
  • Compare results with predictions, suggesting possible reasons for findings (ACSIS215)

Year 4 Science

  • Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)
  • Suggest ways to plan and conduct investigations to find answers to questions (ACSIS065)
  • Compare results with predictions, suggesting possible reasons for findings (ACSIS216)

Syllabus OutcomesST2-4WS, ST2-10LW

Topic: Biodiversity

Year levels: 3 and 4

Indoor or outdoor activity: Outdoor

Time required: 20 mins initially; 45 mins after collecting data.

Learning areas addressed: Science, geography, mathematics, art

Level of teacher scaffolding: Introduce topic, suggest trees to adopt.

Resources required: Printed activity sheet & trees.

Homework and extension opportunities: Students can record events and changes in their tree as homework.

Keywords: Tree, adopt, data, observation, habitat.

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


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Activity outline

Ask your students to choose a tree at school and adopt it for a week/month/term. During this time students will collect data about how the tree changes and how the tree interacts with our environment, other plants and animals.  

Students can use the student worksheet ‘Adopt a habitat tree activity sheet’ or design their own.  Decide how long and how often students will collect data about their trees.

Discuss the type of data students will collect:

  • What sort of tree have you chosen? Are you able to identify the tree?
  • Is your tree healthy or a bit under the weather? Examine your tree closely to see if the leaves are healthy or if they are looking a bit sickly. You may need to do some research or ask someone who you know is a bit of a gardener to help you work out whether the tree is sickly (usually when a tree has lots of green leaves they are healthy; when the leaves are turning a bit yellow it might mean the tree is sick). Also have a look
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Student Worksheet

Adopt a tree data collection

Date of observation:

Location of tree:

Type of tree:

Health of tree:

 Data Collection

Rain yes/no
Wind yes/no
Sunny yes/no
Hot yes/no
Plants affecting the tree
Other animals

Tree interaction diagram

In the middle of a large sheet of paper, draw an illustration of your tree.

1. Show on the illustration how our environment interacts with the tree. What is the effect of the sun and weather.

2. Show how other plants might affect their tree. Make a f

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