Arbor Day

by Alan Haskvitz

National Teachers Hall of Fame

About Arbor Day: Arbor Day is America’s National Tree Holiday, founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872 to commerate the important of trees to humanity. Imagine all the uses trees have and why, on this day, it is recommended that you plant a tree and educate others about their importance. In 1970 Arbor Day was proclained the last Friday in April.

Celebrating this day is a wonderful way to integrate lessons and meet Common Core objectives. You can combine science, math, literacy, and social studies in create meaningful lessons that can result in a life time appreciation of nature. The problem is where to find these lessons. I especially like the build your own greenhouse one ( that offers students to grow their own seeds. An unexpected lesson here is the one of delayed gratification and the uncertainty of nature. Having the students track the growth, but I like to have them write poem about what the plant feels and about what they feel.

Another good project is to have students research the many uses of wood and make a list that is kept in the room for the rest of the year so that students can add to it as they are awakened to a use. Having them put their name next to the new idea adds to the lesson.

One thing that I always do is read Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree to the students. It really gets their attention and helps them develop an appreciation for trees. Here is the slideshow

Next I show this video and tell them to compare the two stories, this one by Lynne called, The Great Kapok Tree. It makes for a great discussion and also can be used for a variety of activites.

You should check out when your state celebrates Arbor Day and also note the State tree. A good art lesson would have each student research and draw a tree for every state.

Lessons by subject matter

An excellent selection and easy to use, but basic.

Here are some excellent lessons and videos

Mostly for K to 8

More lessons, crafts, and activities

A Pinterest site with lots of images of ideas

For younger students.

A lesson site that has good science ideas among others

Civics lessons

For older students