Unit 6: Social Studies Connection

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Small Trees, Tall Trees

Trees are truly amazing. There are many different types of trees in the world. Some trees are tiny enough to hold in your hand. Others are big enough for cars to drive through them.

Bonsai Trees

Bonsai is the art of growing miniature plants. Some bonsai trees can be as small as 2 inches high. They are grown in trays or small containers.

The grower, or artist, prunes the roots and branches to keep the plant small. He or she may put wire around the branches and trunk. The wire helps form the shape that the tree will grow into.

The art of bonsai has been around for more than 1,000 years. Many different species of plants are used in bonsai. However, some species are better for the art than others. Bonsai plants can live for hundreds of years when cared for properly.

Sequoia Trees

Giant sequoia (suh-KOY-uh) trees are the largest trees on Earth. They are also among the oldest trees. Today, giant sequoias can be found only in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. However, the trees were once found in a larger geographical area. Because the trees are listed as national park trees, they are protected.

The General Sherman tree is a giant sequoia tree. Some people consider it to be the largest tree in the world. The tree is 275 feet high. Its lowest branches are 130 feet from the ground!

Word Wise

miniature:
Smaller than the usual size: I bought a miniature chair for my dollhouse.

prune:
To cut unwanted parts from a tree or a bush: Lena used sharp scissors to prune the rose bush.

species:
A group of animals or plants that are similar: Dogs and wolves are members of the same species.

geographical:
Related to the land features of a region or place: You can use a geographical map to help you locate mountains and rivers.

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Activity

Make two word lists. In the first list, write all the words in the article that mean big. In the second list, write all the words in the article that mean small. Then write any other words you can think of that mean big or small. How many words can you think of? You may use a thesaurus to help you.

Data Hunt

According to the article, the General Sherman tree is 275 feet high. How high is that? Find the heights of four different objects in an encyclopedia or by measuring. You might include the heights of a tall building, your best friend, yourself, your classroom, or a giraffe. Order all the objects, including the General Sherman tree, from tallest to shortest. About how many feet taller is the General Sherman tree than a giraffe? Compare each of the objects to the General Sherman tree.