In their study of dendrochronology, students use activity sheets and a discussion to apply principles of dendrochronology to determine a tree's age and to recognize climatic variation. (den-droh-cruh-NOL-uh-gee) means “the study of tree time.” Usually called tree-ring dating, dendrochronology is a science based on the fact that every growth season a tree adds a new layer of wood to its trunk.
They will also analyze and experience how archaeologists can sometimes use tree rings to date archaeological evidence and study past climates. Over time, these yearly growth layers form a series of light and dark concentric circles, or tree rings, that are visible on cross sections of felled trees.
Growth, Development, and Reproduction of Organisms Performance Expectations: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
A native of New England, Walter Boynton began his science career as a summertime assistant at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, Maryland.
Photo of Ponderosa Pine illustrating years of diminished growth due to Pandora Moth defoliation (white arrow and bracket). Speer, Indiana State University, provided by Henri D.
Example: Warm Temperatures Plenty of Rainfall = Standards: MS.
Modified with permission from Global Change: Time and Cycles, Department of the Interior, U. Students will be able to recognize the direct impact of climate on annual tree growth patterns.
In this activity, students will use pre-marked paper strips to simulate tree-ring core samples to help them understand that data for past climate changes can be gathered from sources beyond long-term weather observations.
Connections between seasonal conditions and types of wood will be reinforced and applied by students in this activity.
This activity requires students to work at a computer station.