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Author

ClimateScience

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 45 minutes
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus

Global

Format

PDF

Analysing Past Climate Conditions Using Trees

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Synopsis
  • This lesson has students determine the age and growing conditions of different trees by looking at representations of tree rings on a worksheet to help them estimate what the climate was like in the past. 
  • Students will learn about historic climate and environmental conditions by analyzing the patterns of the tree rings. 

Teaching Tips

Positives

  • The resource can be downloaded and used offline or printed. 
  • This activity could be implemented with real tree cores or disks as well.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Ensure that students read the background information provided in the worksheet, as it will guide them in finishing the work.
  • To have students cut the strips out, you will need to print out the worksheet and provide scissors.

Differentiation

  • Consider an excursion to a location where trees have been felled to actually count the rings of the tree trunks.
  • This activity can help engage students and provide a hands-on activity for learning about weather and climate.
  • Similar resources include CO2 in the Ice Core Record and Paleoclimate: A History of Change.
Scientist Notes
This activity introduces students to the topic of dendrochronology, the study of tree rings, to recreate past climate information. Dendrochronology is an important tool when studying past climates. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-7. Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth’s systems and life on Earth.
    • ETS3: Nature of Science and Engineering
      • HS-ETS3-3. Provide evidence that multiple approaches to understanding climate change have resulted in stronger theories of why change happens over time (ESS3.D.h).
    • LS4: Biological Evolution
      • HS-LS4-5. Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
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