Plants: Hanging Tough

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In this hands-on activity, learners will become familiar with the special adaptations of rainforest plants and discover the conditions needed for tropical trees to survive along with what can impinge on their survival. To prepare for the lesson, educators will cut a mahogany tree model out of cardboard. Learners will then paperclip drawings of epiphytes, vines, and tree leaves onto the tree. As more and more epiphytes are added, the tree may fall over, and if it does not, learners may blow the tree down. This will support their understanding that the pressure of too much wind or epiphytes can cause tropical trees to fall. This lesson is standards-based and includes wrap-up suggestions. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Classification
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Populations
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Collection
    • Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access