Lesson Snapshot

Engage: The students will view a short video about forestry in Oklahoma and discuss the question, “Why are trees important?” During this discussion the students will create a list of reasons they think that trees are important. They will share these reasons with the class. The instructor focuses students’ attention to trees role in the water cycle.

Explore: Students will create a mathematical model to measure and calculate leaf surface area. Students will investigate tree transpiration by measuring the water use of a single tree limb over time and comparing this to stem size, limb length, and total leaf surface area. Students will apply this mathematical model in an investigation to determine what factors most closely correlate with tree transpiration rates.     

Explain: Students will analyze their data using statistical analysis. Through this analysis students will discover that total leaf surface area has the most impact on tree transpiration rates. Students will observe tree anatomy to construct explanations for why leaf surface area had the greatest effect on transpiration. Students will also create a model of the water cycle to identify how trees fit into that cycle

Expand: Students will read a journal article from the PINE MAP study (a study researching drought’s effect on Loblolly Pines) and identify similarities and differences between the research methods and results from the study and the students’ investigation.

Evaluate: Students are given real data from the PINE MAP research study and use their findings and models to analyze and make predictions regarding the Loblolly Pine and its response to drought as well as it’s role in the ecosystem.