Paper Bag Tree Lesson Plan

Project Title: Paper Bag Tree, also see our translation  紙袋樹

Description: Teaching kids about the beauty, wisdom, and importance of trees. Perfect for the official change to spring.  A great way to tie in the idea of time management. Trees lose their leaves in fall to prepare for winter.

Project Ideas: time management, recycling, nontraditional materials, naturalistic, intrapersonal

Author: Lesson plan by Candice Carroll; project by

Grade level or Target Age Range:preschool to middle school

Vocabulary: volume, mass, texture, seasons, nature

Materials:  paper bags, scissor, tissue paper, and glue

Anticipatory Set: Kids’ exercise to focus in and connect with nature. Have kids crouch down and slowly “sprout” in standing position with arms and hands out. Show images of trees that are local to your area.

Will Hale Acorn Song — A fun way to get kids quiet and relaxed


  • Relax and focus in on work with Will Hale Acorn Song.*  (5 minutes)
  • Develop discussion of seasons, nature, and our impact on them. (5 minutes)
    • What is it like outside? What season is it now? What season is next? What kind of trees do you see in the spring? Do we need trees? Do animals need trees? Have you ever heard someone say trees are wise?

1. Cut lunch bag into half-inch-wide strips.  Start at the opening and cut halfway down the bag. (about 10 minutes)

2. Open bag and stand it up. (2 minutes)

3. Hold base of bag with one hand and twist the middle of bag to create the trunk of the tree. (2 minutes)

4. Twist the bag strips together in twos to create branches. (10 minutes)

5. Rip strips of colored paper into tiny pieces and glue them all over the branches of the tree. (10 minutes)

Discussion: Life applications; how the lesson might apply to non-art related experiences or other types of knowledge.

  1. Do we need trees?
  2. Do animals need trees?
  3. Does anyone know why trees are considered wise?
  4. What trees do you know?

Instructional Reflection:

1. Kids responded wonderfully to the Q&A about their local trees. The students were also very excited to identify different streets named after trees.

2. The younger students had a difficult time twisting branches, so assistance may be necessary depending on the age range.

3. It is also important to emphasize that no one tree looks like any other. Some have more twisted branches, while others maintain straight branches. Individual students’ trees do not need to look identical to the example.

4. The lesson is flexible to seasons. Trees can remain bare to represent winter or they can have different-colored leaves for spring or fall.You can even use blue tissue paper to make triangular icicles for winter. We decided to celebrate the first week of spring with light green leaves. If you do decide to add leaves, make sure to specify the importance of conserving glue while attaching.


EnvironmentEducation – Facts on why leaves change colors and fall off.
NatGeo – image of a 300ft. Redwood tree

 Additional photos:

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