Every Part of the Tree with Purpose

Silvia Cristina Umaña Martínez

Participants will put together a puzzle with a picture of trees and the functions of the tree parts on the back. In small groups, they will find their puzzle pieces hanging from various parts of a tree. When putting it together they will see the landscape and, when turning it over, they will be able to read and discuss the functions of each part of the tree.

  • A puzzle of 12 pieces per group (instructions to make it are in the next section).
  • Masking or packing tape to hang the pieces from each tree
  • One sheet per group, with the instructions.
  • A bright colored rope for each group (blue, yellow or red)

For the puzzles you need:

  • Color photocopies, in legal or official size, of the images of the trees and of the text sheet.
  • Pencil or pen to mark the lines of the puzzle
  • A sheet or meter of foamy (foam rubber or eva rubber)
  • Transparent wallpaper (2 legal size sheets for right and back)
  • Pair of scissors
  • White school glue or liquid silicone
  • A shoebox lid, tray or cardboard for each puzzle
  1. Sit in groups in a comfortable space on the grass.
  2. Look around you and absorb with your eyes the beauty of creation. What do you notice? (Provide a few minutes for them to list what they see and appreciate. Offer short statements as an interaction.)
  3. Today you will be focused specifically on trees and their purpose in creation. What living beings perceive around? What do you think is the reason trees exist? Soon you will be able to observe the trees more closely.
  4. When you hear it’s time, go find a tree that has a blue rope (or the color you chose) around its trunk. If another group gets to that tree first, don’t worry and look for the next tree with a rope of that color on the trunk.
  5. Choose among yourselves who will be the moderator of your group.
  6. This person will be waiting to read the written instructions that you will receive in a moment. It will also support the group to fully comply with those instructions.
  7. Take one sheet of instructions for each group so they know what they are going to do when they find their tree.
  8. Do you have any questions or queries? (Provides time to clarify doubts and answer questions).
  9. Now that you have the instructions, get up and do the steps! Enjoy your approach to the life of a tree.


Step 1: If you look closely, you will see puzzle pieces hanging from various parts of the tree.

Part 2: Collect all the pieces and put the puzzle together on the tray at the foot of the tree. Try to assemble it together and discover the landscape by joining the pieces.

Part 3: Turn the puzzle over so that it is facing backwards. Set it up so that the information can be easily read.

Part 4: Choose a comfortable place to sit next to your tree.

Step 5: Take turns reading what the back of the puzzle says. After reading each section, look at your tree and discuss whether it is fulfilling that specific function. Then continue reading.

Step 6: When they finish reading, they can comment on the functions of the trees that they did not know or did not remember. You have 5 minutes to focus on how each part of that tree is fulfilling the purpose for which it was created.

Step 7: Return to your starting space as soon as you finish observing and discussing the functions of each part of the tree. Don’t forget to bring your puzzle already assembled.

( Parts of a Tree , 2013)

  • This activity is for people 12 years of age and older.
  • The template for the puzzles is in section 10 of this activity.
  • Paste the photocopied image of the trees onto a foam sheet of the same size as the print.
  • Paste the sheet with text on the back on the foamy.
  • Once you have the image of trees on one side and the information on the other side, cover both sides with transparent wallpaper so that the puzzle is not damaged by moisture or handling.
  • Cut out the pieces of each puzzle according to the lines that you see on the image of the trees.
  • Have the shoebox lid, tray, or cardboard you prepared for each puzzle handy.
  • Save each puzzle separately until the day of the activity.

Notes for the facilitation of the activity

  1. Prepare a division method in advance so that you separate them into groups with the same number of participants. There is no problem if a team keeps one more member.
  2. Choose an area with lots of trees, a forest would be ideal.
  3. Hours before the activity go to that area. Select the most leafy trees and mark them with a rope of a conspicuous color (blue, yellow or red) tied at the base of the trunk.
  4. Make sure that in the area around the trees there are no anthills, poisonous or thorny plants, or anything that could threaten the safety of the participants.
  5. Glue or hang, in different parts of each selected tree, the pieces of a puzzle.
  6. Place the tray (shoebox lid or cardboard sheet) at the foot of each tree.
  7. Have the instruction sheets handy so that each group can take one
  8. Begin the activity in a large, comfortable space where everyone in the group can sit.
  9. When you are communicating that you will be closely exploring why trees exist, briefly explain that each part of the tree fulfills a specific function while the tree lives. The only reason a part of the tree fails to serve its purpose is if there is destruction by humans or natural phenomena. Sometimes animals can also damage trees, as is the case with squirrels and deer, which strip the outer bark off trees to eat.

If the tree loses the outer bark it will not be able to protect the trunk; if the litter is burned, it will not be able to create nutrients or serve as an ecosystem; if they prune branches indiscriminately or a gale blows them away, there will be no treetop to provide shade or protect from flooding.

Each part of the tree with a purpose (Umaña Martinez, Silvia, 2021b)

Photographs of trees (Umaña, Alfredo, 2021)

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