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Grandpa Tree, The (FBCEC)

TopicLaboratory and Hands-on Activities - General
Participants will learn about the life cycle of a tree using literature. They will then collect items from outside to make a tree life cycle poster.
Recommended SettingIndoor or outdoor classroom
LocationFred Berry Conservation Education Center, Yellville, AR

Education Program Coordinator, 870-449-3484





Duration45 minutes
Suggested Number of ParticipantsUp to 24
Special Conditions
Weather permitting

  • Describe the life cycle of a tree.
  • Identify the stages in the life cycle of a tree.
  • Collect items to represent each part of the tree’s life cycle.


Key Terms*

Life cycle



“The Grandpa Tree”

Plastic sacks, one per participant or every two participants

Poster board


An elementary tale of the life cycle of a tree is also a life lesson for people. “The Grandpa Tree” is about a pine tree that takes care of the younger pine trees around it. It grows up watching the smaller trees and protects them from harm. The tree saves them from being buried in deep snow by catching it with his branches and shields them from the wind.

  1. Read the story out loud. Discuss what happens in the story and use it to outline the life cycle of the tree.
  2. Diagram the life cycle of a tree on a dry erase board. Let the participants take turns explaining each part of the life cycle.
  3. Give each one or two participants a large plastic bag to collect items from outside, items that represent each phase of a tree’s life.
  4. After collecting everything, have the participants glue the pieces on the poster board, making sure they glue them in sequential order. Show them a cycle diagram as a model. After they have glued everything, ask them to label each part of the cycle and share it with the group.
  5. Participants could also create their own story describing the life of a tree they are familiar with.

For younger participants, read the story and discuss the cycle as a class, collect items that would represent each stage and construct a class model with those items. The younger children might also like to act out the story.


Describe the stages of a tree’s life cycle.


Donahue, Mike (2007). The Grandpa Tree. Roberts Rinehart Publishers.


Life cycle – stages an organism, group or culture passes through during its lifetime