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In this online interactive, learners measure time using the growth rings of trees. This resource explains the meaning of growth and rest bands, the causes of variations in "tree calendars," and how dendrochronology is used by archaeologists to understand how wooden tools and structures were made long ago. Learners use a simulated increment borer to drill a hole in a tree, examine the rings, and create a tree calendar to date a piece of wood.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Simulation


Materials List (per student)

  • Computer with internet access


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth's History
      • Archeology
      • History of Life
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
    • Evolution
      • History of Life
  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Patterns
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
    • Number and Operations
    • Problem Solving
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
    • Science as a Career

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • use mouse

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, National Park Service,


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