Task of the Week: Age of the Tree
“How old is this tree?” is the question of our current Task of the Week, which is located in Karlsruhe, Germany. Matthias Ludwig, the head of the MathCityMap team at Goethe University Frankfurt, gave us an interview about this task type.
Please describe this task type. How the age of the tree could be ascertained?
The task type “Age of the Tree” connects the learning of mathematics with non-mathematical knowledge or more specifically with information about trees: What does an oak, a beech or a lime tree looks like? How fast the tree species grows? Lots of further botanic questions could be examined subsequent to this task.
The classic solution process is to measure the circumference of the tree trunk at first, followed by the calculation of its diameter. However, students can also solve this task, if they don´t know the formula for the circumference yet. They can ascertain the diameter of the tree by measuring the distance between two parallel lines, which are both tangent to the trunk. If the students determined the diameter on one way or the other, they can approximate the age of the tree for example by using the rule of three.
The task “Age of the Tree” became a part of our task wizard a few weeks ago. The wizard provides all users prepared MathCityMap tasks, which can be created only by adding the measured data and a photo of the object – the sample solution and the hints emerge as if by magic.
Which didactic aims do you want to encourage through this task type?
In my opinion teachers and students should discover tasks, which exalt their mathematical imagination. For the reason that outdoor learning is highly useful, MathCityMap is one of many interesting ideas for the further development of modern math class.