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Tree Trekkers

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Keywords: Life Science, Nature, local features, mapping
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Photography, Writing, Life Science, Technology, Science
Grades 4 through 5
School: Trinity School, Columbus, OH
Planned By: Susan Haninger
Original Author: Susan Haninger, Columbus
Students will have several sessions of instruction on using and caring for the digital camera. The sessions will also discuss with students and solicit from them ideas as to what makes a good photograph and how to get the best results. They also will learn how to remove the photos from the digital camera to the computer and finally how to enhance the photographs they have taken.

Student will work in triads researching on the Internet as to what trees are indigenous to their own state. They will collect the names of these trees and a sample photograph to use as a guide during their first photo expedition in the school yard.

During the first outing with the cameras students will photo graph the trees in their own school yard. The student teams will download the photos to their computer and save their photos to a file that they have made in a common and accessible area on the school network. In another session the class will look at the photos providing helpful, critical remarks as to the quality of the student photos and suggestions for improvement.

The student teams will begin to design a booklet or a PowerPoint presentation about the trees they have photographed. Each page or slide will detail a description of the tree, identification of the tree and a classification of the tree as indigenous or not. Students will also write about how they photographed the tree and what photographic techniques they may have used to achieve the desired results of their photo. The will also tell what season the tree was photographed during and describe what the tree typically looks like during other seasons of the year.

During the second photo expedition the students will use what they learned from the first session about taking photos to improve the photos that they take of trees in the surrounding school neighborhood. These trees also will be down loaded to each team's special tree file and incorporated in to the booklet or PowerPoint presentation.

Students will be allowed to take the digital camera home and photograph all of the trees in their neighborhood within a one block radius. These photos also will be downloaded, identified, classified and written about to add to the project.

The final products will be used to share with students from another state or another country.

As an extension students will use Google Maps to locate the students' home and school neighborhoods and the streets that were included in the photo expeditions. They will capture images of these maps and use an overlay drawing tool to mark the locations of the trees that they photographed. The maps could be included in the booklet or slide show.

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The processed photos could be made into customized greeting cards or stationary for classroom use or for sale as a small school fund raiser.
Students might be lead to wonder where there were more trees and why. They also could write essays as to the value of trees to our lives and to the ecology.
Links: National Arbor Day Foundation
The Oho State University Bulletin Native Plants of Ohio
The United States National Arboretum
Google Maps
Materials: Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Camera Bags, Mobile Labs