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Write an Email to a Tree

Students will study a map to select a tree in Melbourne, Australia. They will write an email to the tree in which they ask questions about the tree and its environment and/or share their hopes and ideas for conservation of Earth's forests.

PROCESS:

  1. Have students access the website "Explore Melbourne's Urban Forest." Instruct them scroll down or tap the "Explore the Map" button to see the map that shows all of Melbourne's trees. 
  2. Point out the color and symbol keys below the map, which identify the age, health and genus of each tree. Tell students to select a color/symbol combination. They can further narrow their selection criteria by tapping the "All Precincts" or "All Trees" buttons. 
  3. Instruct students to zoom in on the map to find a tree that meets their criteria. If they tap the icon, they can email their tree. NOTE: To ensure that all emails go to the correct trees, tell students not to change the text in the subject line. The same email address is used for all trees, but each tree has a unique ID code.
  4. Encourage students to send a message to their tree. Suggest that they ask questions about the tree or its environment. They may even want to share their hopes or ideas for conservation of Earth's forests. After students send their emails, have them monitor their emails to see if any of the trees respond.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to read their emails aloud to the class. After all emails have been read, challenge students to identify the overall impression the emails would make on someone reading them in the future. What would the emails tell them about people's feelings for trees? What would they reveal about people's concerns for the current state of Earth's forests?

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON: 

Grades 3-4:
Divide the class into small groups. Have each group pick a tree. Then have students conduct research to learn more about the type of tree they selected. Instruct students to ask at least three relevant questions in their emails.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into pairs. Have each pair pick a tree. Instruct them to conduct research to learn more about Melbourne and the type of tree they selected. Instruct students to ask at least three relevant questions about the tree and its environment in their emails. 
Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into pairs. Have each pair pick a tree. Instruct them to conduct research to learn more about Melbourne and the type of tree they selected. Instruct students to ask at least three relevant questions about the tree and its environment in their emails. Encourage them to also share their hopes or ideas for conservation of Earth's forests.
Grades 9-10:
Instruct each student to pick a tree. Have them conduct research to learn more about Melbourne and the type of tree they selected. Instruct students to ask relevant questions about the tree and its environment in their emails. Encourage them to also share their hopes or ideas for conservation of Earth's forests.