CSI for Treesby: Darrin L. Rubino and Deborah Hanson

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The circles and patterns in a tree’s stem tell a story, but that story can be a mystery. Interpreting the story of tree rings provides a way to heighten the natural curiosity of students and help them gain insight into the interaction of elements in the environment. It also represents a wonderful opportunity to incorporate the nature of science. In this activity, appropriate for grades 3–6, students make connections with the work of a scientist as they solve a mini-mystery using tree-ring evidence.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (7)
  • on Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:22 PM

I found this article very informational and a great tool to guide teachers into how to structure units for their students if intending to build with them. The source breaks down the steps you should take to learn about trees, how to explain the process, how evaluate data, resources associated with the topic, and a purposeful reason to teach it. I think that it is creative and helps build a concrete foundation or start for teaching about life and organisms. Very handy tool for informal learning/teaching!

Julie Castaneda
Julie Castaneda

  • on Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:34 PM

Don’t know much about trees? This article is full of practical advice for how to use simple tree “cookies” to get your students to think like scientists. Everything you needed to know including classroom management, forestry, interpreting tree rings, and inquiry questions to ask are all included. This article is a great way to stimulate meaningful discussion and develop observation and inquiry skills in your students.

Patricia McGinnis  (Pottstown, PA)
Patricia McGinnis (Pottstown, PA)

  • on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:43 PM

This is the basic form of out door research and investigation that your students will love.

Sherene McDonald
Sherene McDonald

  • on Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:07 AM

Can be used for elementary school activities. Many applications possible.

Dat Le  (Springfield, VA)
Dat Le (Springfield, VA)

  • on Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:48 PM

A very good resource that emphasizes critical thinking through comparing and contrasting species, journal writing, asking students to make inferences and supplying probing questions.A key part of the lesson helps teach students how scientists really work. The subject is also appropriate for the grade level.

Therese  (Salisbury, MD)
Therese (Salisbury, MD)

  • on Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:05 PM

The activity helps students to develop observation skills. They begin by simply observing tree ring "cookies" then use the data collected to make conjectures to explain what is happening. Vocabulary plays a key role in the lesson, and even though the words introduced are very technical, in the context of the lesson, I think they are entirely appropriate for upper elementary students.

Christina B
Christina B

  • on Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:47 PM

Some of the concepts presented in this article are beyond the scope of lower elementary science topics. The background information is highly beneficial for teachers. Excellent activity for upper elementary.

Kendra Young  (Lake Stevens, WA)
Kendra Young (Lake Stevens, WA)

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