Measuring Carbon Sequestration in
Schoolyard Trees and
Global Sustainability of Carbon Stores
Five Day Lesson Plans for
Future Fuels from Forests Teacher Institute 2009
Denise Payment Tahquamenon Area Schools
Newberry Middle School 9/2/09
Trees and Carbon Storage Target grade middle school science (Life, Environmental, Earth) Unit Overview These lessons are a part of a unit that will review and assess students laboratory techniques, their ability to read informational text, while at the same time have them learn about the environmental impact of carbon sequestration. This is an important topic for the students in this school district due to the high degree of logging. If presented at the beginning of the year it could also serve as a MEAP review in the area of constructing new knowledge and reflecting on knowledge. At the beginning of the year, each student will adopt a native tree in the area of the school. This project will be part of a yearlong journal project that will be added to, as different science content is discussed throughout the year. The tree will be the focal point as we discuss biotic and abiotic factors, reproduction, soil, photosynthesis (especially the carbon factor), and uses of trees by humans. These topics in the content area are part of life and earth science standards and benchmarks in the middle school. (See MI Standards and Benchmarks above) References Barnes, Burton V. & Wagner, Warren H. Michigan Trees: A Guide to the Trees of the Great Lakes Region. University of Michigan Press, 2004. Biofuels & Carbon Sequestration Powerpoint by Maria Janowiak from Future Fuels Institute at Michigan Technologial University 2009. (Includes handout to find carbon mass and graphics showing carbon sequestration.) American Forest Foundation, World Forestry Center, Global Connections: Forests of the World, 2008 (Project Learning Tree Global Connections: Forests of the World, 2008. Pgs. 65-74) MUST BE PURCHASED DUE TO COPYWRITE CONDITIONS http://www.fao.org/forestry/fra2005 ( Natural Inquirer: The Worlds Forests Edition, vol. 11, 1.) Michigan Standards and Benchmarks E.ES.07.41 Explain how human activities (surface mining, deforestation, overpopulation, construction and urban development, farming, dams, landfills, and restoring natural areas) change the surface of the Earth and affect the survival of organisms. E.ES.07.42 Describe the origins of pollution in the atmosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere, (car exhaust, industrial emissions, acid rain, and natural sources), and how pollution impacts habitats, climatic change, threatens or endangers species. L.OL.M.6 Photosynthesis Plants are producers; they use the energy from light to make sugar molecules from the atoms of carbon dioxide and water. L.OL.07.63 Describe evidence that plants make, use and store food.
L.EC.M.3 Biotic and Abiotic Factors The number or organisms and populations an ecosystem can support depends on the biotic resources available and abiotic factors, such as quality of light and water, range of temperatures and soil composition. Social Studies - VI.1.7.11 Inquiry and Decision Making TLW explain how culture and experiences shape positions that people take on an issue
Math - 7.3 (Content Standard 2): (Description and Interpretation) Students examine data and describe characteristics of a distribution, relate data to the situation from which they arose, and use data to answer questions convincingly and persuasively.
DAY ONE Learning Objectives: Students will identify trees using a tree guide and tree samples. Students will write observations of the tree samples using drawings and descriptive text. Students will observe and count and record tree growth rings on a tree sample. Lesson objective: Students will observe tree cookies and logs and identify tree types using a tree guide and tree samples. Students will determine the age of one of the samples. Materials: 5-6 tree cookies (slices of trees showing rings and diameter), tree logs about 9 (optional), Michigan Trees: A guide to the trees of the Great Lakes region, digital microscope, projector, journals Procedure:
Students will receive journals. The journals can be a spiral notebook or a composition notebook. They will be used for journal assignments only and not general note taking. Each activity will be dated and titled with the appropriate activity requirements.
Students will observe and identify tree cookies and half rounds of some tree
species as provided by the teacher. Students are assigned to groups and each group will receive a tree cookie (slice of tree showing full diameter) and a tree identification guide. The students will also receive a half log about 9 long. Student will also determine the age of selected trees by counting the rings in the cookies. (Note: not all tree samples will have rings that are easily counted). This could also be done under a document reader or digital microscope and teacher directed.
Students will record their observations in the journal and date it. If need be
require a minimum number of observations. The observations should include descriptions and diagrams or pictures in as much detail as possible.
Using a digital microscope or document reader the teacher will project a tree
cookie on the board and brainstorm with the students what might have caused the rings to be different widths apart in the tree. Some acceptable answers might be
drought, fire, good growing years. Students could also use this technology to count rings that are hard to read.
End the lesson by brainstorming the importance of trees and their uses. Write the
different ideas on poster paper or the board. Assessment:
staying on task and recording observations, date and title of activity counting tree rings to determine age
Day Two Learning Objectives; Students will measure a tree of known species and determine its diameter, height, and calculate carbon mass using mathematical equations. Students will take a picture of their tree with a digital camera and download it to a document, and print it out with the species labeled. Students will draw and label a picture of the tree, including bark, leaves, twigs, buds, etc Students will record their trees carbon mass in a table. Students will design a pie chart depicting which trees have the highest carbon content. Lesson objective: Students will measure the diameter of a tree, calculate the height of the tree, identify species of tree, and calculate the carbon mass of the tree. Materials (per group of 3 or 4): tape measure or diameter tape, tree identification book, handout to calculate carbon mass, calculator, and allometric equation for tree species (See handout). Also clipboard, pencil, digital camera and GPS (optional). Use metric units. Procedure:
Hand out supplies to groups of students. Some supplies may need to be shared by groups.
Take students outside to an area of trees that is easily accessible during the school year. (Dont forget to get permission or notify the office of whereabouts)
Have students adopt a tree. Discuss beforehand that the tree must be a native to Michigan. Identify the tree species using a tree identification book. If necessary you might want to tag trees that will be allowed.
Take a picture and make drawings in the journal of the bark, leaves, twigs, buds, etc. Date drawings. An optional GPS coordinate may also be taken.
Demonstrate height at which students need to measure the diameter of the tree. This is referred to as breast height diameter (BHD)- 45. Measure using a diameter tape or calculate the diameter by finding the circumference in centimeters. See handout (Appendix A)
Complete handout to determine mass of carbon in the tree. Write information in journal.
Record carbon mass of tree in classroom table and depict the information in a chart.
Completion of handout. Check journal for tree picture, drawings, identification of type and carbon mass. Record carbon mass in table. Make a pie chart of the information showing average percentage of carbon per
tree type. Day Three Learning objectives: Students will read informational text and summarize pertinent information. Students will calculate the total carbon sequestered in the trees from the class. Lesson objective: Students will read and summarize information from informational text using 6 + 1 writing traits rubric checking for ideas and organization Materials: Articles at a reading level of students about carbon sequestration. Writing rubric using 6+1 writing traits Biofuels & Carbon Sequestration Powerpoint by Maria Janowiak from Future Fuels Institute at Michigan Technologial University 2009. (This powerpoint was part of a presentation by Janowiak that discusses carbon sequestration and has graphs, tables and drawings that illustrate the role of carbon in environment.) Procedure:
Read article on carbon sequestration in Natural Inquirer, The Worlds Forest Edition, vol. 11,1 pgs. 18 & 19. U.S. Forest Service (Appendix A) (http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/i0105e/i0105e00.htm)
Summarize article. Calculate all the carbon sequestered in the trees the students have adopted.
o Enter data into a table on the board separated into conifers and deciduous Ask students where they think the carbon comes from. Discuss in general terms
photosynthesis, pointing out the carbon molecules. Carbon dioxide and water, using sunlight as an energy source, produce glucose and oxygen. See graphics.
Summarize Article looking for the 6+1 writing traits of Ideas and Word Choice Calculate carbon sequestration and enter material into a table. Design a graph to depict the information (bar graph, pie chart are some ideas)
Days Four and Five Learning objectives: Students will analyze case studies of forest uses and determine positive and negative affects. Students will construct a poster analyzing the positive and negative effects of forest use in terms of carbon storage. The positive effects should include a sustainable option. Student will communicate to the class their information on carbon storage and sustainability in forest use. Materials _ Project Learning Tree - Global Connections: Forests of the World. Chapter 5 Understanding the Effects of Forest Uses, pages 65-74. Follow the format of the lesson as written or with adjustments as needed. Poster board and markers, magazines to cut out pictures Student handouts from lesson Lesson Objective: Students will read assigned articles and analyze different uses of forests in terms of benefits and the positive and negative effects. Students will work in groups. Students will determine a sustainable option. Students will construct a poster showing sustainable options for specific forest use scenarios.
Overview of lessons: In this lesson, students will discuss how forest products are used in other parts of the world. They will then read one of five short case studies and analyze it with this question in mind, What are the Consequences? The lesson also provides questions to consider while synthesizing the information. Students will need to define and understand the concept of sustainability. Complete student pages in lesson. Assessment: This assessment will be a synthesis of the unit lessons.
Students will construct a group poster from the case study they were assigned and demonstrate through drawings or a collage, before and after picture of a sustainable option for their scenario. The poster must show, through graphic design, where the carbon was previously stored, and also, the improved scenario.
Each group must be able to explain their poster to the class, explaining why the improvements are sustainable and where the carbon is sequestered.
Activity: The Carbon in Trees Biofuels & Carbon Sequestration Powerpoint by Maria Janowiak from Future Fuels Institute at Michigan Technologial University 2009
Description: Recent interest in the use of forests for carbon sequestration and bioenergy require knowledge about the amount of carbon stored in a tree or forest. For this activity, you will estimate the amount of carbon stored in a nearby or favorite tree. Objectives: Measure tree diameter; calculate biomass and carbon mass Materials Needed: Tree(s); Diameter tape and/or tape measure; Calculator and/or spreadsheet software; Pencil; Allometric equation for tree species Instructions: Step 1: Measure Diameter If using a tape measure, measure the circumference of the tree at breast height (4.5 feet off the ground; see figure). If necessary, convert this value to cm. Then, using the tree circumference, calculate the diameter. Circumference: _______ cm Diameter: _______ cm OR: If using a diameter tape, the tree is measured the same way but it is not necessary to calculate diameter since the tape already does that for you. If necessary, convert this value to cm. Diameter: _______ cm Step 2: Calculate biomass for whole tree. To calculate tree biomass, we use a standard allometric equation of the form M=aDb where M is aboveground tree biomass (dry weight; kg), D is the diameter at breast height (cm), and a and b are species specific coefficients. Locate the coefficients for the species of tree that you have in the table and calculate tree biomass (M). Tree Species: _____________________
Biomass (M): _______ kg
Step 3: Determine carbon content Since carbon is the major building block for life, a tree contains a large portion of carbon (about half of its biomass). To determine how much carbon is in your tree: Multiply biomass (M) by 0.521 for hardwood trees. Multiply biomass (M) by 0.498 for softwood trees.
Carbon content: _______ kg C Multiply by 2.2 to convert to lbs.
Carbon content: _______ lb C Bonus Question: One lb of C is equal to 3.67 lbs of CO2. Also, a car emits 19.6 lbs of CO2 for each gallon of gas. If a person uses 400 gallons of gas a year, then their CO2 emissions from driving would equal the amount of carbon sequestered in _______ of these trees.
Species a b Ash 0.16 2.35 Aspen 0.05 2.51 Balsam fir 0.07 2.50 Basswood 0.09 2.35 Beech 0.20 2.39 Eastern hemlock 0.10 2.36 Northern white cedar 0.09 2.23 Red maple 0.16 2.31 Red oak 0.13 2.42 Red pine 0.78 2.42 Sugar maple 0.17 2.36 White birch 0.12 2.43 White oak 0.20 2.16 White pine 0.75 2.38 Yellow birch 0.09 2.59
Wrap tape measure around tree 4.5 ft above the ground. On a leaning tree, make sure the tape is perpendicular to the trunk.
dioxide from the atmosphere. The carbon becomes a part of the living tree, including its
Rubric for analysis of case study
Rubric for poster
1 2 3 4 Organization Cluttered, not at
all organized into positive or negative concepts
Hard to follow, not organized in positive negative concepts or sustainability component
Meets standards of expectations. Shows positive and negative concepts with labels showing sustainability component.
Goes beyond standards and expectations to show sustainability
Creativity Bland, no color, Some color, minimal use of drawings
Good use of color and drawings, easy to understand
Excellent use of a variety of media such as color, text, pictures
No specific content
Content is minimally represented
Content meets expectations
Content exceeds expectations
Level and difficulty of understanding
Below grade level, demonstrates no understanding of topic
Minimal level of understanding
At grade level with basic level of understanding. Meets standards
Above grade level showing greater understanding than required
1 2 3 4 Ideas Does not
understand main theme. Does not include graph or table information.
Some understanding but misses main point. Includes information found in one graph or table.
Understands most of main points in article. Includes information found in two graphs or tables.
Shows excellent insight into topic. Includes information in all the graphs and tables.
Word Choice Does not reflect scientific content in word choice in writing.
Uses basic scientific words in writing.
Uses mostly scientific word choices in writing
Very descriptive, vivid images, uses correct scientific word choices.