The Forest or the Trees: A Remote Sensing Simulation

Teacher Information -


Time Duration: one or two 50-minute class periods

Grade Level: 7-9


Choose a target object such as a tree or shrub.
Mark observation lines at four distances from the target. Good starting distances might be 36 meters, 18 meters, 9 meters, and 4 meters. These distances can be varied depending on the area available, but they should provide the students with distinct differences to view through their lens.

Read and discuss the background paragraphs with the class. Explain that at the most distant observation line, they will look through their "camera lens" with a perspective of viewing the target object as though they were in the space shuttle.

The next observation line represents the camera view from a high-flying aircraft, the third observation line is the view from a helicopter, the last observation line is for an up-close camera.

Encourage students to outline all objects they can see through the "lens" at each distance.

After students have finished their outline drawings, encourage them to darken the outlines so that they are thick and bold as in coloring books.

Remember that students do not have to be great artists to do a good job drawing in science. Encourage students to observe and draw carefully and neatly.

Click here to see the student worksheet for this exercise. You should be able to print out the work sheet and then make copies for each of the students.

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