Tree Trunk Diameter to Branch Height Relationship

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In this activity (located on page 2 of the PDF under GPS: Temperate Rain Forest Activity), learners will identify a group of deciduous trees to study. Once the species has been recorded, the circumference of the trunks will be measured at the same spot on each tree, as well as the height of the lowest branch. Then learners will calculate the diameter and analyze the result to look for a relationship between tree diameter and height of the lowest branch. This activity exposes learners to techniques that foresters actually use to study and measure trees. Relates to the linked video, DragonflyTV GPS: Temperate Rain Forest.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Field Trip


Materials List (per group of students)

  • string, 3 meters long
  • a tape measure, metric
  • a calculator
  • a tree identification guide
  • notebooks and pencils


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth's History
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Classification
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
      • Circles
    • Number and Operations
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
    • Science as a Career

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DragonflyTV


  • All rights reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., 2007

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 610429