How Many Leaves on a Tree? (Version 2)

This How Many Leaves on a Tree? (Version 2) activity & project also includes:

A second attack at figuring out the number of leaves on a tree, this activity makes both an excellent follow-up to version 1 and a stand-alone activity. Learners practice setting parameters and deciding acceptable estimate precision, and then try their hands at developing an abstract equation for general use. Collaborative work is emphasized as learners can piggyback on one another's ideas to develop improved estimates. A good activity for developing higher-level analytic skills and getting a taste of the open-ended nature of advanced mathematics.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Different groups investigating different kinds of trees allows the class to tease out features of the equation constants
  • If you are doing this lesson in the fall, linking analysis to local leaf-raking efforts or fundraising is a natural out-of-class extension
Classroom Considerations

  • Last page is blank, if copying costs are a consideration
  • If the class works on both version 1 and version 2 of this task, distinctly different answers are quite possible for the same trees
  • More answer-driven learners might struggle with the lack of a single right answer or estimate, particularly when defining parameters
Pros

  • Real-life application for practicing open-ended math analysis
  • Multi-layered process lends itself well to collaborative group work
  • Easily differentiable by simplification of estimates and paramenters
Cons

  • Class task and teacher notes are mingled on the first page, instead of separated into a handout and notes
Common Core