For one of our last activities for Write Out, I took my sixth grade students outside the school building for a long walk around the perimeter of the property. Notebooks in hand, their task was simple: count the trees by making a tree map of the school property. We first watched the video (above) to explore the effort that had gone in to trying to tally how many trees are in the world (and to look at the very cool mapping project).
We counted about 40 trees on the main property of our school (not including the trees lines of the property border) and in doing so, my students really “noticed” the trees for the first time, asking about the varieties of trees, and why one stretch of seven trees was planted in a single file, and why did the Weeping Cherry appear like a bush, and I explained how a group of students planted some of the trees on the playground years ago to create shade for future students (now, there is shady areas, which the current students enjoy).
We also watched this Park Ranger video from last year, about trees and roots and Sequoias:
The Tree Map activity was pretty simple — the video of the world’s trees sparked high interest in what was right outside our window, and any opportunity to go for a writing walk on a beautiful New England Autumn day is always worth it.