The Tree You Can’t Hug

If you’ve ever hugged a tree all the way around, we bet it was not a sequoia. Aside from having every vowel in their name (a-e-i-o-u), sequoias are cool for another reason: they’re huge! The largest one, the General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park, has a trunk 25 feet wide, because it’s been growing for over 2,500 years. Try getting your arms around that!

Wee ones: Find the biggest thing in your room that you can reach your arms around for a hug. Could your hand touch the other hand? The other wrist? Your elbow?

Little kids: If one sequoia is 8 feet wide and another sequoia is 17 feet wide, which one is wider?  Bonus: If a tree is 20 feet wide and you’re 4 feet tall, how much wider than you is the tree if you lie down next to it?

Big kids: The distance around a tree is about 3 times the width. If General Sherman’s trunk is 25 feet wide, about how many feet around is the tree?  Bonus: Using that answer, if your armspan is 5 feet, at least how many people your size have to hold hands to reach all the way around?

The sky’s the limit: If that 2,500-year-old tree grew 1 inch each year, would that be fast enough to be 275 feet tall now? (Reminder if needed: One foot has 12 inches.)

Wee ones: Different for everyone…it might be a giant pillow, stuffed animal, or a grown-up!

Little kids: The 2nd tree is wider.  Bonus: 16 feet wider.

Big kids: About 75 feet around (it’s actually 25 times pi, or 3.14, which gives you 78.5 feet).  Bonus: About 15 people.

The sky’s the limit: Not quite! Even if each foot had only 10 inches, you’d need 2,750 inches. And it’s actually more than that: 12 inches per foot gives us 3,300 inches. So the tree must have grown more than an inch per year on average.

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