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Build a Tree

Source Institutions

    University of Nebraska State Museum

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Build a Tree

This activity (on pages 13-18) has learners build a model tree and then figure out how to make their tree stand up by itself. This illustrates how the tall rain forest trees adapt to support a huge trunk and heavy branches, while also sending their roots out instead of down. Trees built in this activity can be used for the Rain Forest in Your Room activity that is also part of the Wonderwise Rain Forest Ecologist Activity Book.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Model

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • masking tape
  • 1 large brown grocery bag - heavy gauge
  • green tissue paper cut into 10 x 6 inch pieces (four pieces per team)
  • 10 x 10 inch pieces of tagboard or cardboard (1 or 2 pieces per team)
  • scissors


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Biodiversity
    • Ecology
      • Biodiversity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

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

Designed specifically for

  • Rural dweller

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Girls

    • Explicity developed for this group


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All Rights Reserved, University of Nebraska State Museum, ©2001

Funding Sources:

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • National Science Foundation Informal Science Education Program, 9909496


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