TreEAB Week 1, Lesson 2: The air we breathe and the water we drink


Activity Description: 

At the end of this mini-unit, students will understand all the ecosystems services and value trees provide to humans every day. Students will know the biological processes of trees and the importance of native trees for providing habitat. Finally, they will acknowledge the significance trees add to our surroundings and be able to share everything they learn with others.

This matters for all students because if they are not given the opportunity to appreciate nature while young, it may be too late. Students must know that there is much more to trees then what meets the eye. Enlightening kids to all trees have to offer while still impressionable, will forever change their outlook. They will then have the power to be environmental stewards of the future.


Students will be able to identify and access ecosystem services provided by trees such as clean air and clean water.

Educational Standards: 

Earth & Space 

7th Grade – 4. Analyze data on the availability of fresh water that is essential for life and for most industrial and agricultural processes. Describe how rivers, lakes and groundwater can be depleted or polluted becoming less hospitable to life and even becoming unavailable or unsuitable for life. 

Life Sciences 

Benchmark C: Explain how energy entering the ecosystems as sunlight supports the life of organisms through photosynthesis and the transfer of energy through the interactions of organisms and the environment. 

6th Grade – 8. Describe how organisms may interact with one another. 

7th Grade – 2. Investigate how organisms or populations may interact with one another through symbiotic relationships and how some species have become so adapted to each other that neither could survive without the other (e.g., predator-prey, parasitism, mutualism and commensalism). 

3. Explain how the number of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on adequate biotic (living) resources (e.g., plants, animals) and abiotic (non-living) 

7. Explain that photosynthetic cells convert solar energy into chemical energy that is used to carry on life functions or is transferred to consumers and used to carry on their life functions. 

Benchmark D: Explain how extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and its adaptive characteristics are insufficient to allow survival (as seen in evidence of the fossil record). 

7th Grade – 4. Investigate how overpopulation impacts an ecosystem. 

8th Grade – 5. Investigate how an organism adapted to a particular environment may become extinct if the environment, as shown by the fossil record, changes. 

Physical Sciences 

Benchmark C: Describe renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy (e.g., solar, wind, fossil fuels, biomass, hydroelectricity, geothermal and nuclear energy) and the management of these sources. 

6th Grade – 8. Describe how renewable and nonrenewable energy resources can be managed (e.g., fossil fuels, trees and water).

Science & Technology 

Benchmark A: Give examples ofhow technological advances, influenced by scientific knowledge, affect the quality of life. 

6th Grade – 2. Explain how decisions about the use of products and systems can result in desirable or undesirable consequences (e.g., social and environmental). 

7th Grade – 2. Describe how decisions to develop and use technologies often put environmental and economic concerns in direct competition with each other. 

Benchmark B: Design a solution or product taking into account needs and constraints (e.g., cost, time, trade-offs, properties of materials, safety and aesthetics). 

6th Grade – 5. Design and build a product or create a solution to a problem given one constraint (e.g., limits of cost and time for design and production, supply of materials and environmental effects). 

7th Grade – 4. Design and build a product or create a solution to a problem given two constraints (e.g., limits of cost and time for design and production or supply of materials and environmental effects). 

8th Grade – 3. Design and build a product or create a solution to a problem given more than two constraints (e.g., limits of cost and time for design and production, supply of materials and environmental effects). 

4. Evaluate the overall effectiveness of a product design or solution. 

  • Worksheet Packet 
  • Time device
  • Glass of water 
  • Video Capabilities 
  • Article 
  • Large version of the graphic organizer/overhead of graphic organizer 
  • Markers 
  • Drawings of photosynthesis and water purification 
  • Clipboards 
  • Construction paper 
  • Markers/crayons/colored pencils 
  • Timer 
  • Role cards
  • A/B/C cards
One Class Period
The Ohio State University Extension and USDA Forest Service,