Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tree Cookies

A wonderful way to teach how scientists determine Absolute Time is to have some Tree Cookie Activities.

Here are a collection of great activities to choose from. I would usually do the PowerPoint first and then do a simple "count the rings" lab. If I had time, I would do a cross-dating activity, which shows how dendochronologists string rings from many trees together to determine the climate of an area. Exploring the Methuselah Grove is a really nice way to calm them down after a couple of active activities. Give them a homework worksheet and they will do both things at the same time!

What fun! And real learning, too!

These are in the order I would do them over one or two days, with extras at the end.
  1. Tree Cookies PowerPoint - fun way to introduce the whole concept of using trees to do some Absolute Dating. NOTE: I'm having problems with some of these images! Email me if you are, too. Can probably work something out.
  2. The Stump - show your students how to count tree rings.
  3. Be a Dendochronologist - good practice reading two different tree cookies
  4. The Tree Cookie Lab Activity - Great lab. You need your own Tree Cookies for this lab, at least a couple dozen, preferably from several different trees - and if you must make your own, use downed trees, please! Try to find trees with different ring thicknesses and/or wounds.
  5. The original Tree Ring Science Lesson - FABULOUS crossdating lesson - I used this idea for many years.
  6. My version of the Tree Ring Activity - I've got it simplified and organized with a page to run off multiples of the "straws"
  7. Interactive Tree Ring Activity - from NOVA - requires Shockwave -project onto your SmartBoard
  8. Explore the Methusalah Grove - from NOVA - uses a QuickTime plug-in - beautiful 360 degree panoramic view of very old bristlecone pines - project onto your SmartBoard
  9. Tree Cookie Game - not really a game but good practice for "reading" tree cookies
  10. Tree Cookie Worksheet - basic identification of terms - might be good followsheet for PPT
  11. Label Tree Ring Anatomy - from Enchanted Learning - also might be good PPT followsheet
  12. How to Make Tree Cookies - good basic info for teachers - has a great section on what the different Special Features mean, such as thin rings, wide rings, scars, narrowing of rings on one side, etc.
  13. YouTube has several videos on Reading Tree Rings; such as this one, which includes a visit to the Methusalah Bristlecone Pines. Search for Dendoclimatology or Reading Tree Rings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I printed the power point presentation and lamanated it to use at our 6th grade enviornmental camp. It worked out great, thanks.