Arbor Day Curriculum

No matter what subject, Arbor Day can be celebrated.


  • Study the ecosystem of one particular tree.
  • Learn to identify trees in your community by using a tree key or having students create a tree key in class.
  • Take a nature walk to identify trees.
  • Study the structure of a tree, how it functions and benefits a tree provides.

Social Studies

  • Learn about the history of Arbor Day.
  • Study the importance of trees in different cultures.
  • Correlate the history of the United States or your community to one tree's growth rings.


  • Learn how to measure a tree's height, crown spread and diameter.
  • Have younger children count the rings on a tree stump.
  • Look for a pattern of numbers in nature.


  • Participate in The National Arbor Day Foundation's National Poster Contest (fifth grade).
  • Collect leaves, put tempera paint on them, and make leaf prints.
  • Do bark rubbings and have students trade rubbings to see if they can identify each other's trees.
  • Draw pictures, posters, murals or stamps.
  • Design program handouts for a school tree planting program.

Physical Education

  • Have students identify trees by their shapes while outside.


  • Write an Arbor Day poem, story or song and perform it for the class/school.
  • Have each student write a description of a tree found on the school grounds; then see if other students can find it using the description.
  • Have students write letters to community tree planters, thanking them for their efforts.
  • Share famous tree quotes

Home Economics

  • Find out about spices and other foods and learn about the trees that produce them.


  • Produce a play recreating the history of Arbor Day. Invite older residents in the community to attend, so they can share past Arbor Day stories with the school.

Classroom and School-wide Activities

  • Hold an art or essay contest judged by teachers, the PTA, and/or local garden clubs. Emphasize content, original thought, uniqueness, and creative effort. Topics may include: What It's Like to be a Tree, A Tree's Role in the Environment, A View from the Top of a Tree, How Trees Help Save Energy, Who Should Plant Trees and Who Depends on Trees.
  • Play "Tree Jeopardy" or "Tree-vial Pursuit," and see which class or group of students can answer the most tree-related questions.
  • Plant trees on the school grounds through Making the Shade and learn how to maintain them. Ask the principal to make a proclamation for the school and display it in the main hallway.
  • Participate in a community Arbor Day celebration as a field trip.
  • Hold a "Read-In" at the library and have all the tree books - both fiction and nonfiction - on display to increase awareness of the tree resources available at school.