For this blogpost I decided to explore one of the references that Bethany had listed in her previous post. More specifically, an academic article titled, “Local Tree Mapping: A Collaborative, Place-Based Activity Integrating Science, Technology, Math, and Geography” by Erica Blatt. I was instantly hooked. This insightful article provides detailed instruction and an abundance of resources concerning how to conduct tree mapping as a class.
What makes tree-mapping so awesome?
- It’s inquiry-based; thereby fits perfectly into the new BC curriculum.
- It can be adjusted for students grades five through twelve.
- It promotes place-based education and real-world experiences.
- Students work together to accomplish a common goal.
- Technology is integrated into nature to enhance student learning.
In short, what are students getting out of this activity?
- Experience collecting data on tree type, height, diameter, age, and the longitude and latitude.
- A means for identifying various local tree species.
- Ability to analyze and present real-world data that can be utilized by the local community.
- Basic skills in geographical information systems (ie. GPS) and Microsoft Excel.
- Understanding and appreciation for the role of trees within the Earth’s ecosystems.
- Inquiry skills in science, mathematics, and geography, as well as problem solving, critical thinking and collaborative skills.
This article is proof that when technology and the great outdoors are combined, some really interesting doors suddenly open. Tree mapping is only one of many wonderful possibilities. I look forward to discovering more ways to apply technology outside to create meaningful learning opportunities for students.