Math is Real Life: Redwood Trees!

It’s the first Wednesday of April which means it’s time for our monthly linky – Math IS Real Life!! If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!
If you are linking up, please include the below picture AND a link back to all four of our blogs – feel free to use the 2nd image and the links listed below!


A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by
Sometimes the best “Real world” math is simply an awareness of the magnitude of math!  This was especially true a few weeks ago when we took my son to California to tour a few colleges.  When a friend of mine learned that we were headed to San Francisco, she said, “You HAVE to go to Muir Woods!”.  We took her advice and we spent several hours exploring the wonder of some “nature math’!

We were not only amazed by the numbers we saw…but the idea of  “perspective”–and how comparing huge objects to “known” objects helps you understand the true value of the number.  Here are some pics from our visit.

We started by doing a little reading once we first got into the park to see exactly what we were dealing with. Wow.  That’s all I can say.  Wow.

So we were faced with the decision of just snooping around or about going on one the official trail hikes.  How bad could a 2 mile hike through the woods be?  UMMMM…the entire trip was up and down canyon walls…stepping over roots, etc.  My arthritic knees were killing me!  So…mathematically speaking, does 2 miles always equal 2 miles? NO!  Not when one mile is completely uphill and the other is completely downhill!  
As we navigated through our hike, we just kept finding example after example of seeing the relative scale of objects.  YIKES!

As we got deeper into our hike, the views were just amazing, and it didn’t take long to be able to visualize the HUGE numbers we had read about earlier…I mean, 40 foot diameter?  I am good at estimating 40 feet–it’s the length of a gymnastics floor exercise mat…but a TREE with a diameter that size?  Mind boggling.

So…after spending hours being awe-struck by these magnificent beasts, we continued on our way for our tour of Stanford.  We walked. We walked some more.  Then we walked some more.  At the end of the day, we were exhausted–and this final picture shows yet another LARGE number…my new Fitbit steps record!  We even put some more steps on after this was taken.  No wonder we were tired!

Don’t forget to check out the other MIRL posts below! Check back over the next few days – more will be added!!