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Author

Paleontological Research Institution

Grades

3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects

Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Worksheets
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus

Global

Format

PDF

Climate in a Tree Stump

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Synopsis
  • This student activity teaches students about dendrochronology, the study of tree rings.
  • Students will discover what scientists can learn from a tree stump, including the age of a tree, the climate when the tree was growing, how trees grow in differing conditions, and how extraordinary circumstances can impact the tree's rings.
  • Students will evaluate the tree rings provided, answer questions, and make a timeline for the events.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This worksheet delivers meaningful information succinctly, and is extremely engaging. 
  • The activities included are buildable and can be very hands-on, which is excellent for visual and kinesthetic learners. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • The resource does a great job delivering information, but students would benefit from prior knowledge on the parts of trees and how they grow. 

Differentiation

  • This resource lends itself well to a gradual release delivery, where the teacher guides students through the first activity and questions on page one and then students work individually or in groups to complete the activity on page two. 
  • The tree timeline activity can be completed on a nature walk, using pre-cut pieces of wood, or using printed pictures of wood rings. 
  • As an extension, consider having students seek out and photograph a tree ring on their own. This could be accomplished in their yards or neighborhoods, or by searching images online to evaluate.
Scientist Notes
The resource underscores the techniques in estimating the climate of a place using a tree ring. The activity is appropriate and recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science and Engineering
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • 4-LS1-1 Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
      • 5-LS1-1 Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
      • MS-LS1-5 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading (K-12)
      • R.6-8.4 Read various texts closely to determine what each text explicitly says and to make logical inferences; cite specific textual evidence to support conclusions drawn from the texts.
      • R.6-8.12 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
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