Tree on lawn
The Problem Tree

Identify causes, effects and solutions linked to various challenges and problems


To strengthen their ability to visualise their thoughts and work together to examine and discover links between causes and effects.


Post-it notes or cut-out shapes to attach to a whiteboard/wall.

Please note: The exercise is meant to be carried out together as a whole class or large group. But of course it can be adapted and done individually or in smaller groups, depending on ability.

Do it like this

  1. Draw a tree and write the problem/challenge on the trunk, for example, homeless children, children who are forced to work, become soldiers or enter child marriage. Each pair or group work with one problem at a time.
  2. Write down possible causes on the tree’s roots, such as poverty, prejudices, tradition, or discrimination of certain minority groups. Other possible causes can be climate change, war and conflict.
  3. Write down effects and consequences of the problem on pieces of paper and place on the branches. For example health problems and/or abuse.
  4. Take a step back and see if any of the causes and effects should be switched round?
  5. Try to come up with ideas for solutions. Draw fruit and write the solutions on them before ‘hanging’ the fruit on the branches.


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