What Can Tree Rings Tell Us About Climate?

Tree rings are slightly thicker on the south side of the tree because it receives more sunlight. Part two in a series of five lessons helps learners analyze tree rings to determine the environmental conditions that caused size differences in the rings. After writing a hypothesis, groups analyze data and build an argument to support their thoughts and findings. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Most groups will know that tree ring differences are directly proportional to precipitation; to move beyond this, incorporate the extension ideas included at the end of the lesson
Classroom Considerations

  • To complete the lab, teachers need tree cookies or cross sections of trees in order to analyze the rings; you can purchase these at the included link
  • The lesson takes three to five class periods; if teachers do some prep work (downloading data, keeping presentations short, assigning portion of lesson as homework, etc.), it will cut the time needed
Pros

  • Lesson provides background information for teachers and pupils
  • Individual worksheets, directions, and an answer key are located near the end of the lesson
Cons

  • None
Common Core

NGSS