Give or Take?

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In this outdoor activity, learners work in pairs using their senses—especially touch—to learn more about individual trees. After reading and discussing Shel Silverstein's storybook "The Giving Tree," learners conduct a field study of different trees. Each learner explores and answers questions about a particular tree's bark, age, smell, roots, leaves, and fruit, and what wildlife is found in or near the tree. In a latter part of the activity, learners wear blindfolds and try to identify their tree without using their sense of sight.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Field Trip, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • The Giving Tree book by Shel Silverstein
  • dark bandanas for blindfolds (enough for 1/2 the group)
  • paper
  • crayons
  • pencils/pens
  • list of questions for each pair of learners


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Animals
      • Classification
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Human Impact
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Touch
      • Smell
      • Vision
      • Hearing
      • Perception
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
      • Ethics
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Literature
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • hear
  • be mobile
  • smell
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source: