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3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan, 60 minutes
  • Worksheet

Regional Focus




Count the Trees

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  • This math activity introduces students to the concept of greenhouse gas emissions and engages students in multiplication, division, and rounding. 
  • Students will answer questions related to emissions from electricity use, food production, transportation, plastic production, and clothing. 

Teaching Tips


  • This resource is a fun way to apply mathematical concepts that could appear abstract to the students.
  • The teacher's guide includes an answer key.
  • It contains some suggestions of climate-friendly activities.

Additional Prerequisites


  • With the climate-friendly activities listed on the handout as a guide, ask the students to make lists of other climate-friendly activities.
  • Advanced students could consider drawing graphs using the data to compare the emissions of each activity and to calculate how many times they do each activity in a given period of time to get an accurate comparison.
  • Other related resources include this video on how trees could cool down Phoenix, Arizona and this StC lesson plan on urban trees and inequality.
Scientist Notes
The resource provides a baseline for students to gain practical knowledge in calculation of carbon footprints. Although trees are good sequesters of CO2, educators should note that 22kg/per tree for CO2 being sequestered is relative. It could be more or less depending on the age of the tree, leaf structure, bark, and root structure. This is recommended for teaching.
  • Mathematics
    • Algebraic Reasoning: Operations (K-5)
      • 4.OA.A.2 Multiply or divide to solve problems in authentic contexts involving multiplicative comparison, distinguishing multiplicative comparison from additive comparison.
    • Numeric Reasoning: Fractions (3-5)
      • 5.NF.B.3 Interpret a fraction as division of the numerator by the denominator (a/b = a ÷ b). Solve problems in authentic contexts involving division of whole numbers that result in answers that are common fractions or mixed numbers.
      • 5.NF.B.5 Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division to represent and calculate multiplication and division of fractions. Interpret multiplication as scaling (resizing) by comparing the size of products of two factors.
  • Social Sciences
    • Social Science Analysis (K-12)
      • 4.24 Explain individual and cooperative approaches people have taken, or could take in the future, to address local, regional, and global problems as well as predict possible results of those actions.
  • Related Resources


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