Remarkable Trees of Virginia Project - Lesson Plan

Remarkable Trees of Virginia

A Lesson Plan for Grades 4-5


Students draw a picture of their favorite tree from memory, and then add detail as they learn more about leaf characteristics of Virginia trees. They will use their writing skills to nominate one or more of their favorite trees to the Remarkable Trees of Virginia Project. All trees and their nominators will appear on the project website.

SOL's addressed

  • Science 4.4 Plant anatomy and life processes
  • Science 4.8 Virginia's Natural Resources- forests, soil and land
  • English 4.7 Writing effective narratives
  • Science 5.1 Identifying organisms using a classification key
  • English 5.1 Work together as a group to listen, draw conclusions, and share responses



  • Students will learn to recognize leaf shapes and arrangements that are used to identify trees using classification keys.
  • Students will write a narrative about why a tree is their favorite or is remarkable in some way.


Materials needed


Description of the activity Day 1 (One hour)


Description of the activity Day 2 (One hour)


Sample assessment

A well-nominated tree will have text that is easy to read, and a picture of the tree that provides scale, such as a person standing in front of the tree. Good examples are:

  1. A white oak tree nominated by the Wild Fire 4-H Club
  2. A tree and poem written by a resident of Hanover County
  3. A tree that won the 2007 Washington Couonty 4-H remarkable tree contest.


Extended activities

Have students measure the circumference of the tree, and/or GPS waypoint, and enter this information with text about the tree. The circumference can be used to compare your tree with Virginia champion trees. Also, circumference can be used to determine the ecosystem services of the tree. A GPS waypoint will be useful to people who attempt to locate your tree in the future.

Take students to a computer lab and have them do a search of nominated trees . Searches can be done by common name, Latin name, county, and nominator. Students may also vote for trees by using the 5-star ranking system available on-line.



Virginia's Forest Resources (a publication written specifically to address Science SOL 4.8- Virginia 's natural resources)

Common Forest Trees of Virginia and how to know them (an inexpensive field guide, request from County Forester or Extension Agent )

On-line Key to Leaves

Virginia Tech Dendrology Fact Sheets (check here to see if your school has been inventoried)

Value, Benefits, and Costs of Urban Trees (an Extension publication with formulas for calculating ecosystem benefits of trees)


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