Using Data Analysis from Student Field Investigations and Internet Searches to Determine the Relationships Between Tree Ring Dating, Wildfires, and Floods by Elementary and Middle School Classes
Paul K Grogger, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection
because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.
Students need to understand the four spheres of the earth and how they relate to one another. This project uses a combination of Internet investigations and multiple field investigations to develop an understanding of the Earth.
GSA Poster (Acrobat (PDF) 621kB Oct31 03)
Higher Order Thinking Skills:
Students develop hands-on, mind-on field investigation skills. They learn to observe, question, and develop an understanding of complex, interrelated problems.
Improve the students observational skills and the use of Brunton compasses, Tree corers and the mathematical skills necessary to complete the project.
The project can be completed by students from 5th grade to graduate school. The difference will be in the sophistication of the questions and answers completed.
Basic understanding of earth processes and concepts. Mathemitical capability at the level the student is presently. This will differ from 5th grade to the graduate level.
Role of Activity in a Course:
The project is part of a one-day a week, six week program. The course is primarily a field investigation course with 90% of the contact time in the field. Many of the students are classified as gifted and talented individuals.
Data, Tools and Logistics
Increment tree-corers of various sizes.
Distant measurement devices.
Transportation to the field investigation sites may be the most difficult item to obtain.
Data to show the students have acquired an understanding of the concepts, processes, and techniques learned during the project. Presently, this is confirmed by their submitted work.
In addition to the work completed both oral and written evaluations are completed by the students, the parents, and the elementary and middle school teachers who are part of the project.
Students from Colorado Springs School Districts 11 and 12 have developed and completed a field and internet investigation to develop an understanding of the complexity of science. Various classes from 4th to 8th grade have traveled to various forested locations in the Pikes Peak region to collect dendrochronology data by coring and counting the tree rings in the cores and in previously cut trees to gain knowledge about both the age of different tree types and to develop a possible drought/wet diagram for the years indicated by the tree rings. Further information was collected by visiting appropriate websites for the collection of climatic data that includes stream flows, flooding events, and precipitation, wildfire episodes, and information about the science of dendrochronology.
This paper will present the data developed, the processes used, and the statistical data determined in a tabular form and through flow modeling. The relationships between climate, wildfire, and tree rings are shown to be directly related.