Tree Ring Discovery Kit: Eastern Edition (Class Kit)®
This kit contains the resources needed to teach about tree structure and diversity. Activities focus on using tree rings to calculate age, determine climatic variations and adaptation (through growth ring patterns), identify tree anatomy (heartwood, sapwood, cambium and inner/outer bark layers) and look for unusual growth patterns. Includes 30 Eastern tree rounds (5 each of six species); 30 dual-power (3x/6x) magnifiers; a tree field guide; and an activity booklet containing blackline masters and reproducible student observation cards for analyzing tree rings. Created for a class of 30, ages 8 to 13.
Introduction (from the activity booklet that comes with this kit):
Introduction to tree rounds: A cross-section of a tree trunk or branch (tree round or tree “cookie”) provides a perfect tool for introducing students to the scale and structure of trees. With the tools provided in this kit, students can closely observe tree rings, noting the age of a tree and patterns of growth. Tree rings can also help us evaluate the effects of weather conditions over time and other physical conditions that influence a tree’s growth. What are the different parts of a tree round? In a tree round, food and water transportation tissue, as well as “growing” and protective layers, can be identified. Starting from the center, the heartwood is the middle core of compact, dead wood that provides strength and supports the tree. Surrounding the heartwood is the sapwood (xylem) which carries water and nutrients up from the roots. Sapwood eventually becomes part of the heartwood. The extremely thin cambium is the growth tissue which gives rise to the cells of the surrounding layers. Nutrient-laden sap is transported from the leaves throughout the tree via the inner bark (phloem). Last, the outer bark acts as the tree’s skin, protecting it as much as possible from injury due to insects, fungi, disease, fire, or other external threats.
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