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Age Range: 7-11
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • Maths

How much paper comes form a tree?

Measuring the weight of packaging and using this to work out how many items can be made from one tree

In this fun maths activity for KS2, students will measure the weight of different paper-based packaging materials and calculate the potential number of items that could be produced from an average tree.

This task will teach learners how to use division to solve real-world problems. This activity can also function as part of a wider scheme of learning centred around utilising mathematics to comprehend ratios and proportions or as an introduction to sustainability concepts.

Maths skills are used in many areas of our everyday life. We learn how to use division as we handle money, share items between friends, and cut food into portions. By considering the number of natural resources needed to make common everyday items, we can also become informed consumers with more awareness of the environmental impact of our consumption.

Activity introduction

This activity is one of a set of resources developed to support teaching the primary national curriculum. They are designed to support the delivery of key topics within maths and science. This resource focuses on using division in a practical context: working out how many paper-based items can be made from the average tree.

The teacher will provide an overview, explaining that students will be engaging in an exercise involving weighing different types of paper-based packaging. Students will then apply division to calculate the potential quantity of packaging items that could be produced from a single tree.

The teacher will distribute worksheets and examples of packaging to the students. Subsequently, the teacher will demonstrate using weighing scales and guide the students through the process.

A class-wide discussion will take place to review the outcomes of the activity. Students will discuss which type of packaging yielded the highest and lowest number of items from a single tree.

What you will need

  • How much paper comes from a tree worksheet
  • Selection of paper products
  • Scales
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Calculators

The engineering context

Engineers must possess knowledge of the number of items they can produce from a single source. For instance, in clothes manufacturing, production engineers should be aware of the number of shirts or dresses that can be made from a single roll of fabric.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will be able to know how to use division to solve practical problems, they will be able to convert grams to kilograms, and they will be able to calculate how many paper-based items can be made from one tree.

Download for free below!

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable so that you can tailor them to your students and your schools’ needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, helpful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Please share your classroom learning highlights with us @IETeducation

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