lunes, 3 de diciembre de 2012

Tallest tree in the UK: video listening activity

Watch this short BBC video clip which informs us about the tallest tree in the UK and the way its height was worked out. The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

To watch the clip you can click on the BBC link or on the picture below.

1 Would you be able to repeat the formula we can work out the height of any tree with?
2 What’s the problem when measuring an old tree?
3 Which two instruments does the tree climber need to exactly work out the height of the tree?
4 Would you be able to repeat the way the tree climber calculates the height of the tree?
5 How far off the ground is Waldo sitting?
6 What’s the distance between Waldo and the tallest part of the tree?
7 What’s the exact height of the tree?

To check your answers you can read the transcript below.

Well, this is it, the very tall tree. Now, it’s an oak tree, and it is very tall, but how tall exactly, and how are you going to find out.
Well, that is actually quite easily answered. So stand near to the tree and if you know exactly how far away from the tree you are, and you measure the angle looking up to the very top of the tree, then you can do some maths and work out the height of that third side of the triangle. Then add up your own height but only up to your eyes, and then you will know how tall the tree is.
So they did all of that and what they found was they needed a tape measure. They would also need a professional tree climber, this one is called Waldo, to take the tape measure up the tree and then adjoin a catapult to help him started.
We have measured this by laser, but with an old tree, with a broad crown like this you can’t always guarantee you’re hitting the very tallest twig of that tree. So this is the only way of really guaranteeing we’re getting the tallest measurement, the highest measurement we possibly can.
So off went Waldo, the professional tree climber to try and get all that important and accurate measurement. Well, as you will probably have seen is quite wet here at Stourhead and our camera is starting to fog up. It’s quite difficult for us to see all the way up to the tree, but just with a naked eye I can tell you Waldo is right up to the top there, he’s got the measuring tape there, so he’s going to measure from where he is, and he’s also got some sticks, which he knows how long the sticks are, so we’ll go from where he is to the very top from where he is to the ground, and then add up the two together and we’re looking for a number, fingers crossed, anything over 40 meters would be pretty amazing.
It would in fact be a record and would make this oak tree the tallest oak tree in the UK. Now that is the measuring tape and Waldo is sitting 36 metres and 30 centimetres up in the tree. He extends that measuring stick to the tip of the tallest branch and records that distance as four metres and ten centimeters, making this oak the tallest in the land.
We were hoping for 40 metres for the champion and it’s gone to 40.4. That’s fantastic. Champion tree.

And a very fine champion looking every bit worthy of that title. 
Jules Heim BBC Points West.