Tree Rings – The Science of Dendrochronology


The science of tree rings is known as dendrochronology. By studying cut sections of tree trunks you can determine the age of the tree, how fast it grew and what the climatic conditions were like during this time.

This is a complete teaching package that can be used with pupils, with a case study of an area in North Staffordshire where forest trees were cut down. It is suitable for pupils at key stages 2 and 3.

There are photos of many tree sections, accompanied by teachers’ notes and pupil worksheets, within the zip file .

This is all explained in the powerpoint presentation.

Creating a tree ring graph.

The resources to create a tree ring graph are available in the accompanying zip file. These include 12 images of sections through pine trees, ranging from 7 to 40 cm in diameter. There is a worksheet with blank recording sheet for the pupils available as a pdf file. There is a pdf file (for teachers) that contains a completed table of the diameter and number of tree rings for each image as well as a graph to show the relationship between these measurements.

A large section (e.g photo L (the last of the 12 images above) of slides 24 and 25 in the powerpoint) can be used to create a time line on the tree trunk. The picture and a suitable worksheet is available as a pdf file.

Additional resources

The additional resources are available to download and unzip from the link on the right. These include other images of sections of pine trees, a pupil taking measurements, log piles and some unusually shaped tree sections (see slide 27 in the powerpoint) There is also an aerial photo and map of the actual site (as on slides 9 and 10 of the powerpoint) (courtesy of There is a pupil exercise on the irregular shaped tree sections where the pupil will need to find out why the trees have grown this way. An accompanying teacher sheet and large set of data are also present.

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