Lesson plan

Let's Make a Forest

Get ready to see green! In this lesson, students get hands-on experience creating trees and then measuring to compare the trees.
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Students will compare the lengths of trees.

(5 minutes)
  • Cut a piece of paper into four pieces of different heights. Write the numbers one through four on the pieces (one number per piece).
  • Show the pieces to the class and ask, “Which piece of paper is the longest?”
(10 minutes)
  • Now ask, “Which piece is the shortest?” Take the longest piece and the shortest piece and put them next to each other. Ask students to compare the pieces and estimate how much longer the longer piece is then the shorter piece.
  • Take out a ruler and measure the length of each piece. Show students how computing the difference between the pieces shows you how much longer the long piece is than the shorter piece.
  • Write a number sentence on the board to express the difference between the two pieces.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out paper to students and have them repeat the activity you did in the Teacher Modeling section. Have students cut four different pieces of paper, labeling them one through four. Then ask students to compute the difference between the longest and shortest pieces of paper.
(20 minutes)
  • Tell students that they are going to make trees out of construction paper. They should create a tree of any shape and size, but when they are done they should measure the length of their tree.
  • As students finish their trees, they should tape them at the front of the class in order from smallest to largest. This task will require students to work collaboratively to order the trees. Prompt students to share their trees’ heights when ordering the trees. Ideally tape the trees to a whiteboard, where they can be easily repositioned.

Enrichment: Have students create multiple trees to order.

Support: Have students work with a subset of five trees to order.

(5 minutes)

Assess students’ understanding by observing how they participate in the ordering process.

(5 minutes)

Have students reflect on their forest by calculating the difference between the tallest and the shortest trees in the forest.

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