Where Redwoods Thrive – Elementary School

Becoming the world’s tallest trees

Place-based Elementary School (3rd-5th) Curriculum

This Elementary School redwood curriculum is built for students to explore questions surrounding the magical coast redwoods.

Key questions students will answer:

  • Why do redwoods grow where they do?
  • Why are redwoods the tallest living things on Earth?

Elements of the lesson to consider:

  • Download Lesson Overview
  • Download all readers combined
  • The class should work through 1-2 pages per day and use the graphic organizer to summarize what they learn.
  • Have students record a “score” for how redwoods stack up to the competition with respect to survival.
  • Have students create a classroom redwood journal where they develop their thoughts about the guiding question, create models about how redwoods function, or ask more questions they hope to discover.
  • Audio readings are provided to front load the class before they read on their own or again as a group.

Graphic Organizer

1. Ancient Ancestors

Ancient Ancestors Audio Recording

2. Growing in a Temperate Rainforest

Rainforests Audio Recording

3. The California Current

California Current Audio Recording

4. Towering Heights

Towering Heights Audio Recording

5. Giant Trees, Strong Wood

Strong Wood Audio Recording

6. Redwood Roots

Redwood Roots Audio Recording

7. Superhero Powers

Superhero Power Audio Recording

8. Soils

Soils Audio Recording

NGSS Standards

  • 3-LS4-3. Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all. 
  • 3-LS4-4. Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.* 
  • 4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • 4-LS1.A. Structure and Function Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.
  • 4-ESS2-2. Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features. 
  • 5-LS1-1. Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water. 
  • 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. 

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