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Paleontological Research Institution


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


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Worksheets
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus




Climate in a Tree Stump

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  • 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


  • 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. 


  • 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.
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