Baobab Tree Math

You may have read about the lively habitat of the baobab tree. Perhaps you’ve seen it in Maggie’s mission, "Herd of Elephants? Part 2." Monkeys, hornbills, beetles, caterpillars, bats, weavers, and snakes are just some of the many animals that call this tree home. These trees that live for over one thousand years, only flower twice a year for brief periods. Scientists want to find out more about this unique tree. They have set up a research area and planted young baobab trees. In order to keep the young trees safe, they need to fence each one off separately. They are now growing in 3 large fields. Look on the next page to see how the baobabs are planted.

You need to help the scientists decide how to best use their resources. They have 3 straight sections of special fencing to separate the trees. This will ensure that each tree develops its own habitat and diseases aren’t spread from one tree to another. Study the plats of land and decide how to place the fences so that each tree has its own land and is protected from outside intervention.

Two Measurement Questions For You...

1. If you were in charge of ordering fencing to go around the entire plat, how could you calculate how much you need?

2. Your group of researchers needs to walk from one corner of each plat to the opposite corner. How could you let them know the distance they will be walking?

Constructing and Solving Problems...

Imagine that you are studying one of the baobab trees. Make a chart showing the different kinds of animals you observe, how many there are, and when you see them (time of day or night). Present your findings in an easy to read manner using a graph of your design. Then write 10 word problems based on your imaginary information. Trade with another student. Answer your friend’s questions. Then provide feedback to him/her about how well the graph was constructed and the difficulty level of the questions.