Angles in Nature

Kathryn Gregory
Multiple Subject Teacher

Students will take a walk outside with their protractor and measure the angles in nature. They will record the angles that they find in branches, trees, bushes, flowers, etc… and then determine the supplementary angle.

Grade Level: 3 - 5th

Subject: Environmental, Math

Length of Time: 50 - 60 Minutes

Common Core Alignment

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.C.6 - Measure angles in whole-number degrees using a protractor. Sketch angles of specified measure.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.C.7 - Recognize angle measure as additive. When an angle is decomposed into non-overlapping parts, the angle measure of the whole is the sum of the angle measures of the parts. Solve addition and subtraction problems to find unknown angles on a diagram in real world and mathematical problems, e.g., by using an equation with a symbol for the unknown angle measure.

Objectives & Outcomes

Students will measure angles in whole-number degrees using a protractor. Students will sketch angles of specified measure. Students will recognize angle measure as additive. Students will solve addition and subtraction problems to find unknown angles on a diagram in real world.

Materials Needed

A pencil for each student, 1 protractor for each student or pair of students, investigation worksheet, an outside area with trees or flowers.


Opening to Lesson

  • Ask students for examples of when they use Math in real life.
    • They will probably talk about adding and subtracting.
  • Explain that angles and geometry can also be found in nature and today we are going to do an activity to find them.

Body of Lesson


Note: Students should already be familiar with measuring angles with a protractor. 

  • Use an object in the classroom to show how to measure the angle of a 3D object using a protractor.
  • If possible find a plant and model how you can measure the angles between the branches.

Guided Practice

  • Give the students their protractors and let them practice with something 3D on their desks, for example the angle of their water bottle and the desk (90 degrees).
  • Pass out the investigation worksheet and explain that they will work with a partner to look for angles in nature.
  • Tell them to be very careful when measuring the angles of plants, because some plants are fragile and very important to our health and to the environment.
  • Go outside with the students and give them time to measure the angles between branches in trees or flowers, between the ground and the trunk of a tree, etc…
  • Tell students to complete columns 1 and 2 outside with the protractor and object, but tell them to wait for the 3rd  column, supplementary angles.
  • In the classroom, review supplementary angles and the example on the worksheet.

Independent Practice

Note, the students should already have background information on supplementary angles.

  • Upon returning to the classroom, students can complete the 4th column about supplementary angles independently.


Discuss the activity and ask students to explain some obstacles that they had. Maybe some things in nature were fragile and they had to be very careful, maybe some things were too high to reach, etc.

Assessment & Evaluation

Students will be asked to complete a worksheet (attached).

Modification & Differentiation

The teacher can work with students in small groups for those who need extra assistance.

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