Literature to Use
- a variety of items to use for measuring around the trunk of a tree.
- string/ribbon * measuring tape
- shoe strings * paperclips linked together
- paper chain
- Read either the book A Tree for Me by Nancy Van Lann or A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry.
- Pick one tree in the yard/park.
- The children choose one of the items to use as a measuring tool.
- They look at the tree and ESTIMATE how long or how many of one item it will take to go around the trunk of the tree.
- Write down their estimation.
- The children measure the tree with each item and record their findings.
- The children find a different tree to do the same activity. However, before they measure, they use the information from the previous tree. Is the tree trunk bigger, smaller, or about the same?
- Discuss how it was different to estimate the second and third tree once they had the information from the first tree. Was it easier?
Variations of the Activity:
Have the children use other nonstandard items to measure around the tree:
- their hands
- leaves (different varieties of leaves)
- the length of their arms
- unifix cubes
- have pre-measured pieces of string already cut. Label them with a pieces f masking tape taped around the string that has the length of the string. The children can predict how many pieces of string they will need to go around the trunk of the tree.
A New & Fun Challenge!
For a fun challenge, have the children measure the HEIGHT of the tree by using their legs.
- The children find a spot away from the tree where they bend over and look under their legs. They keep moving AWAY from the tree until they can see the top of the tree.
- The distance from the spot where they are standing to the base of the tree is approximately the height of the tree.
- Then using a yardstick or measuring tape, have the children measure the distance to find the approximate height. (Make sure to discuss the word approximate.)
Depending on the age of your children, you might want to use the worksheet to record their estimations and actual measurements. Click below to download the worksheet: How Big Is That Tree Trunk?