Tree Boogers! A Video Story Problem.

Jul 8, 2014 by

When your community endures a summer storm with winds that top 80mph and a maple tree falls on your parent’s home, what would your normal reaction be? Call a tree trimming crew, call your insurance adjuster, and oil up the chainsaw? That’s exactly what my parents did, and thankfully I was there to do the oddball thing; capturing a moment of curiosity for another “video story problem“.

I’m aware that the “tree boogers” line is a bit puerile, which is one of the many reasons that I really enjoyed making this video. To be clear, using a chainsaw was easily my most favorite part, but sadly I cut that from the final video as the audio was terrible; I’ll save that clip for my “America’s Funniest Videos” entry. I’ve always been fascinated with biological processes and the structure of plants. Despite the drastic difference in plant and animal physiology, the functions that are carried out in both are strikingly similar. The way that plants use xlyem and phloem to transport both the raw materials needed to make food, and the food itself, is fascinating to me. The “weeping” of fresh cut plants stems, the rapid absorption and dissemination of weed killer, and other rather active processes dispel the misconception that plants are static forms of life for many learners.

So it was with great excitement that I had a reasonable excuse to tear a large chunk of bark off of a 50-year old maple tree without fear of damaging it any further. Besides the “tree boogers”, it was fun to show my son and daughter that plants are living, breathing things, filled with water in much the same way we are, just in a slightly different form. I hope the video I captured here would be useful as an example of what teachers could capture to help bring a bit of the real world into the classroom. This video might find itself useful during a discussion about the processes of plants, their basic biology, and how their internal structure helps both support their growth and sustain the production and distribution of food throughout the organism. And to show students what “tree boogers” look like. Or maybe, just provide a discrepant event for starting a unit on plants, and challenging learners to figure out why the inside of the tree is so wet that it’s soft to the touch.

Oh, and for those interested, my parent’s house is fine; just a bit of crumpled gutter and soffit, no major damage to the roof. We were all quite grateful for it.

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