#1181 Trees for Schools (and Parks and Earth)

In the fall of 2015 I was weeding our garden. I pulled a small spruce tree.
As it came out of the ground I realized that tree was valuable for our classroom and the students.
I quickly planted it in a pot and brought it to school. We learned about the tree, science and math… it even served as our class Christmas tree. It was a weedy “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” but it was perfect!

In the spring, we planted the tree at school. Students wrote a wish on a cedar shim that were placed around the tree. At the end of the school year I asked a student if she ever visited the class tree in the school yard. “Everyday,” she beamed!


I realized the power of trees in the classroom…
Since then I have built learning around potted trees that I introduce to class. We write about them, compare them, measure them, research them… and eventually the trees get planted at school. Students develop a connection with the trees (and related learning.) So good.

Rewind 30+ years: I worked as a tree planter for 4 summers and planted about 240,000 trees in Ontario and Alberta, Quebec and British Columbia. It was a tough job. I loved it. I still have access to two of the tiny trees from 1989. They’re now 5 metres tall.

Trees in this post are some of the trees planted at schools. Below is our backyard tree nursery. Most of these trees come from seed, tree giveaways or from our own yard.

Since 2015 I’ve planted 20-50 trees each year at schools, parks and beyond. I love watching them grow.
Want some trees? Look for free tree giveaways in your community, buy them from a nursery or grow them from seed. Enjoy!

#1179 Inquiry Videos in the News

Recently our local paper picked up the story of the rise in popularity of the inquiry videos aimed at kindergarten to grade 3 students:

The Inquiry videos have attracted more than 1250 subscribers and have been viewed 40,000 times.

Watch a recent video about swamp sounds:

Watch the latest video about probability and weather:

#1178 One Year Anniversary – Online Inquiry Videos

One year ago – April 25, 2020 – I posted the first of my inquiry videos that set the tone of the 70 that have followed…

It all started shortly after COVID closed our schools. An educational assistant and teacher suggested I create a short video to share with the Grade 1s in our school. I didn’t take long to agree. Thanks Kristine and Jenna!

A big thanks to you, the students, teachers and families for watching and inspiring me to create more.
I had hoped to reach 1000 subscribers by the one year anniversary.
Today, there are 1107 subscribers.
Thank-you!

Please subscribe and click notifications on if you want to hear about the latest videos before everyone else!

Watch this recent video Swamp Sounds! What’s Making all that Noise?!

#1177 Inquiry Video Anniversary (and Subscriber Goal!)

Shortly after COVID shut down live schooling a year ago, I created a video to support students learning from home…

Almost a year later, 70 inquiry videos support young students learning from home, public schools and forest schools. The videos support math, language, science through questions and curiosity – usually with an outdoor focus.

Since April 2020, the videos have boomed a little boom. At time of writing videos have attracted 981 subscribers. My goal is to exceed 1000 subscribers by the video anniversary – April 25, 2021.

Want to support young learners?

Subscribe!
… And click the notification bell to receive news of the latest videos:

The most viewed video:

One of my favourites:

Another favourite:

A recent video:

The first one in the style adopted:

Subscribe!
… And click the notification bell to receive news of the latest videos:

#1176 Estimating & Measuring Distance – Skating Trail.

I like being outside and active.
So I was recently skating on a beaver pond and got wondering how far I had traveled. I could count the number of laps but am trying to figure out how to estimate or measure how long one loop is…

I’m hoping you can help!
Watch the video, below. Ask your friends, family and teachers as you brainstorm different ways you can estimate or measure distances.

#1175 Inquiry: Barbed Wire Tree?!

I’ve heard of apple trees, maple trees and pine trees but recently I discovered a barbed wire tree! There is barbed wire growing out of this tree? Is that possible?

Barbed Wire Tree.

I want you to help investigate!
Watch this video:

Below the video, in the description when watched on YouTube, are questions, clues and links to help you find some answers about the barbed wire tree.

Barbed Wire Tree.

Write a story with words or pictures to explain how the barbed wire tree came to be!

Barbed Wire Tree.

Like this challenge?
See all the inquiry videos with math, language and science challenges.
Subscribe and click the bell to get notifications!

#1174 Mystery Car Challenge

Recently, I discovered a car in the middle of Gatineau Park! The closest road was about a kilometre away.

Read further for photos, a video and a creative writing assignment…

Abandoned car - Gatineau Park
Old car in the middle of Gatineau Park… How did it get here?!

It got me wondering about the history of the micro area I was travelling through. My head filled with questions!:
“How long has the car been there?”
“Why is the car in the middle of a forest?”
“Where are the people who owned the car?”
“Why did the people leave the car here?”
“How did people get the car here?

Where are the missing pieces of the car?!

The car is in the middle of Gatineau Park, a huge place (361 square kilometres or 139 square miles) just north of Ottawa and Gatineau in Canada. What happened to the missing parts of the car?

Watch to a video about the mystery of the car:

Your assignment – Use your imagination:
• Write a story with words or pictures about the mystery car. Explain what it is and how it got there…
• Create some artwork inspired by the mystery object.
• Tell your partner a story about the mystery object

#1173 Kindergarten and Primary Inquiry Videos – Gravity, Mystery Hole and Frozen Ponds

What keeps the water in the upside down bucket?!
What lives in the hole in the ground??
Why is the pond water hard?

This month’s videos challenge young learners to think, question and develop strategies to find the answers.

Watch the inquiry videos. They have easy connections to Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum!

See the notes (underneath the YouTube video in the description) for learning extensions and links to more information.

How does the water stay in the bucket… even when it’s upside down?!

Who or what lives in the hole in the ground?!

What happened to the water?

See all the videos.

We’re always looking for ideas to support Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3 learning with links to the Ontario curriculum and appropriate for homeschoolers and Forest School fans!

Subscribe and share!