Math Monday: Tree Math.

Firstly…hello my fellow bloggy friends! I’ve missed you! Did you know there are places in the world without free wifi? Yes it’s true. So don’t go to Fresno if that thought freaks you out.

I spent a great 4 days up at Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks. It was a hectic, but fun, time! Which describes so much of my life, actually.

In any case, even on vacation we used a spectacular amount of math. It can be done! And luckily, Sonja had just done her fantastic circle math (posts here but especially this one here having to do with circles and pi.)

In Sequoia, we were surrounded by giant trees.

General Grant Tree

This one is the 3rd largest in the world!

General Grant Tree

As we walked around, the signage between each tree gave out the diameter of the tree, but we wanted to know the circumference. The application being c=D*pi. Sometimes a circumference was given without the diameter. In that case, D=c/pi. These concepts came easily to the kids because of our labyrinth math experience, and also because it was relevant with a very practical application. They spent the day approximately calculating circumference and diameter (approximate because we used “3-ish” to stand in for pi 🙂 ). We also hugged a lot of trees.


and occasionally sat in them too.


Remember in high school math when you (or maybe not you, but I certainly did) asked, “When will I ever use this in real life?!” I still don’t know why that’s a bad question. I’d say a good 3 years of math knowlege was totally wasted on me because 1) I don’t use it in real life or 2) I wasn’t taught how to apply it in real life.

There’s a reason the ancient greek mathmaticians were also powerful philosophers…they connected the world to a language of numbers. How sad that we have systematically disconnected the language of numbers from the world in our current system. So, let’s put them back together! It’s much more fulfilling that way.


Now go! Find math outside!


7 Responses

  1. What a great post and a great trip! We’ve been finding fibonacci numbers outside.

  2. what an adventure!

  3. Great photos…
    I love your post on unschooling
    I have been researching as my kids are cyber schooling and I am waited to be brave enough to take the plunge….great blog!!!!

    • Michele–I started out cyber schooling! It’s was a great way for me to dip my toe in…and then helped me realized what was and wasn’t working for my kids, and I went from there! You probably won’t want to take the plunge first, but your kids will. Follow their lead and you won’t go wrong. 🙂

      • they are definitely leading me in that direction especially my middle child…it seems the confidence is gone from 4 years in public school which then brought me to this journey….i plan to spend the summer researching and planning as well as getting inspiration from your blog

  4. yay, you are back. i checked the circle book out from our local library and am anxious to start using it. i love how the kids worked on math all day while on vacation. how fun is that?? sherry

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