Urban tree survey

Learning resources

Pupils can take part in the urban tree survey with these curriculum-linked learning resources aimed at Key Stage 2 (ages 7–11).

Learners discuss different types of trees and their leaves before using a leaf chart to survey trees in their school grounds or local park. Back in the classroom they can upload their results to the Natural History Museum website and make a poster showing their results.

Teachers can use these lesson plans and activities as a complete unit of work in class, or select elements to adapt to other programmes of work. Learners can also carry out the survey activities at home, as homework or just for fun.

Learning objectives

Pupils will:

  • decide on characteristics to group leaves by, using observable features
  • identify a range of tree species in their local environment
  • engage in, and contribute data to, a national survey using methods employed by real scientists
  • map a local environment and label tree species that have been identified


All the teaching resources are available here to download:

Introduction for teachers

This introduction covers the aims of the urban tree survey and these learning resources. It includes a full list of links for both the 1999 curriculum and the incoming 2010 curriculum.

Introduction for teachers PDF (298.3 KB)

Lesson plan

A 6-part series of suggested activities, including curriculum links.

Lesson plan: urban tree survey PDF (1.0 MB)

Letter from a Museum Botanist

An introduction to the project from Bob Press, Associate Keeper of Botany at the Museum. It includes comprehension questions that can form the basis of an extension activity.

Letter from Bob Press, Museum botanist PDF (319.4 KB)

Leaf chart

Photos of 15 common leaves listed by species or genus, for students to use while surveying.

Leaf chart PDF (719.4 KB)

Field survey recording sheet

A sheet for students to fill out while they do the survey.

Field survey recording sheet PDF (413.6 KB)

Letter to parents

A letter to parents explaining the project and how to participate.

Letter to parents PDF (192.7 KB)