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3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 60 minutes
  • Worksheets

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.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Mathematics
    • Number & Operations—Fractions (3-5)
      • 5.NF.B.3 Interpret a fraction as division of the numerator by the denominator (a/b = a ÷ b). Solve word problems involving division of whole numbers leading to answers in the form of fractions or mixed numbers, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. For example, interpret 3/4 as the result of dividing 3 by 4, noting that 3/4 multiplied by 4 equals 3, and that when 3 wholes are shared equally among 4 people each person has a share of size 3/4. If 9 people want to share a 50-pound sack of rice equally by weight, how many pounds of rice should each person get? Between what two whole numbers does your answer lie?
      • 5.NF.B.5 Interpret multiplication as scaling (resizing).
    • Operations & Algebraic Thinking (K-5)
      • 4.OA.A.2 Multiply or divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem, distinguishing multiplicative comparison from additive comparison.
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