TREX Educator Guides

Here we provide Instructor Guides and a key for student worksheets for each of the five TREX labs. Each Instructor Guide includes a Summary and Key Questions section, as well as an Activity Overview and list of Teaching Materials, Printable Materials, some Teaching Notes and Tips. It also includes a Reference and Additional Resources section.

Each lab can be used as a stand-alone activity that can be inserted into the lab programs of a wide range of undergraduate courses, including those on introductory geology, environmental science and sustainability courses, or more advanced courses in research methods, hydrology, and climate change science. All five can be combined to offer students a wide-ranging view of how tree-ring science can be applied in different geographical, research and cultural settings.

The TREX labs are designed to be more challenging with each successive lab and are structured to build methodological and analytical skills as students work through each one. For example, TREX Lab 1 is an overview of what it is like to be a scientist, from initial inspiration to getting research funded. In TREX lab 2, students learn to evaluate variability in tree-rings, to identify extreme years within a tree-ring sample and to compare the tree-ring record to recorded meteorological data. In TREX Lab 3, students learn to build skeleton plotsa simple graphical representation of the ring width pattern in a sample tree ring core, and crossdatea technique that ensures each individual tree ring is assigned its exact year of formation by matching patterns of wide and narrow rings between cores from the same tree, and between trees from different locations their samples with a master chronology. In TREX Labs 4 and 5, students learn how to measure tree-ring samples with ImageJ software, compare their data to published climate reconstructions and think about how extreme climate may affect people living today and ancestral people.

Ideally, these labs are best utilized in classes of up to 24 students. Students are encouraged to work in pairs or teams for most activities and when presenting their research results. After each activity, students discuss and compare their results with the entire class, which emulates how the scientific community works, and also supports students centered and active learning.

Instructor Key Access

NOTE: To get access to the Answer Keys for the TREX labs, you will need to 'Request Instructor Access' using the tab in the navigation menu on the left side of this page. This is to ensure that students are not simply downloading answer keys. Once you get notification that you have been approved, come back to this site and click on the guide that you want. You will enter your email and the guide will automatically be sent to you. You can do this for each of the five labs. Please allow at least 48 hours for approval.

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