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Modified with permission from Global Change: Time and Cycles, Department of the Interior, U. Students will be able to recognize the direct impact of climate on annual tree growth patterns. In this activity, students will use pre-marked paper strips to simulate tree-ring core samples to help them understand that data for past climate changes can be gathered from sources beyond long-term weather observations.Background Trees contain some of nature's most accurate evidence of the past.

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Drought or a severe winter can cause narrower rings.If the rings are a consistent width throughout the tree, the climate was the same year after year.By counting the rings of a tree, we can pretty accurately determine the age and health of the tree and the growing season of each year.Modern dendrochronologists seldom cut down a tree to analyze its rings.

Instead, core samples are extracted using a borer that's screwed into the tree and pulled out, bringing with it a straw-size sample of wood about 4 millimeters in diameter.

The hole in the tree is then sealed to prevent disease.