Lesson Plan

Pathways to Discovery – Muir’s Trees and Writing Activity

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Grade Level:
Fifth Grade
Biology: Plants, Botany, Wilderness
30 minutes
National/State Standards:
Alaska State Standards
Science: A12, 14, 15; B1, 2, 3; D1, 2;


Use America's largest national park as a pathway to discovery!

In this lesson, students take part in a writing activity which allows them to reflect on some of their thoughts about trees.


  • To familiarize students with the structure, function and importance of trees.

  • To develop identification skills.


Explain to students that throughout time many people have gone to the woods for retreat and to be inspired. Trees have provided inspiration for many people. What is it that makes trees impress and inspire us so? Ask them if they know who John Muir was.


Journal or paper and pencil



Gather the group back together and encourage students to share what they have written about trees. Ask them if they think our planet is caring for its trees like it should. How could we do better at caring for our trees and forests?

Additional Resources

This lesson is part of our "Pathways to Discovery" unit. The individual lessons can be done individually or as a larger unit of learning. They encourage the development of a student’s awareness and appreciation of the natural world and people’s relationship and role as a part of that natural world.

The lessons are a series of shorter activities that have been blended together under a specific theme with the intent that the activities will be coordinated with units in the existing school curriculum and texts. The materials are organized by grade level, but can actually be adapted for use at any grade level. Check out the full Pathways to Discovery unit of lessons, as well as links to other stand-alone lessons like this one.

Last updated: April 14, 2015