Have your children made the discovery about tree rings yet? I’ve always found them to be fascinating, and so do my children.
Three summers ago we were on our way home from the shops and were going to stop for a little game of kick-the-ball around the enclosed basketball court. We had passed by an electricity truck with an extendible bucket on the back. A man inside was lifted up high and was trimming some trees that were getting too close to the cables. We stopped to watch, and talk about what was happening and why.
We continued along and when we reached the court, there was a big post in the parking space beside it. This was unusual…so of course we had to satisfy all curiosity and get a closer look at it. The end of the post was cleanly cut and we could see the tree rings clearly. Tristan and Kallista tried to count how old the tree was. It was a fun little bit of learning and counting practice!
Tree Rings Revisited
We recently revisited this learning experience as we were walking from the a dental appointment to the library. A huge tree had been cut down next to the road, at just the right height for the children to be able to get a good, close look at it.
Of course, we just had to stop and look. Now that the kids are a little older, we could go a little more in-depth into the meaning of the rings. Not just that each ring meant that the tree was another year older.
The size of the rings could tell us about the climate conditions of any particular year. What does a tree need to grow well? Were the conditions right to grow a lot with sun and rain and warmth, or was it a cold year with too much rain and the tree didn’t have much time to grow.
We expanded the conversation back to a recent program we had seen about Japan and the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and how people could count the bands in the snow to see how many big snowfalls had occurred the previous year to create the snow walls along the spring route. That year there had been 13 metres of snow!
Kallista liked to run her hand across the trunk and feel the raw wood. She tried to peek into the little holes that were already in the trunk; made by little creatures unseen.
Those rings have a much greater history to tell…I’m positive we’ll be referring back to tree rings in the future as we lean more about science and the world around us. I’m just fascinated about how something so simple as a cut tree can hold so many lessons! Why not add counting tree rings to your summer bucket list?