NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ936529
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-1326-0286
A Primary Classroom Inquiry: Estimating the Height of a Tree
Brown, Natalie; Watson, Jane; Wright, Suzie; Skalicky, Jane
Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, v16 n2 p3-11 2011
Measurement is one of the key areas of study in mathematics and features prominently in the "Australian Curriculum: Mathematics" (ACARA, 2010). In this set of investigations requiring students to estimate indirectly the height of a tree they are encouraged to use the "power of mathematical reasoning" and "apply their mathematical understanding creatively and efficiently". Specifically, the various measurement techniques involved in the investigations encourage students to use ratio, proportional reasoning and properties of triangles to calculate something that they are unable to measure directly. This article suggests activities that are intended for use with upper primary school students, taking into account that teachers will consider the background and level of the students they teach to ensure they are sufficiently skilled to carry out the investigations successfully. The investigations presented here were used by the authors during a half-day professional learning session with middle school teachers from five rural schools in southern Tasmania (as a part of the ARC-funded research project "Mathematics in an Australian Reform-Based Learning Environment" (MARBLE)). They have also been used with pre-service primary and middle school teachers as part of the Bachelor of Teaching program in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania. Regardless of the structure being measured, the hands-on approach to learning used in the investigations allows students to explore seemingly abstract, disconnected concepts in a meaningful, enjoyable way. (Contains 10 figures.)
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia