NW Colorado Dendrochronology Project for 7-12 grade

This project links the width of tree rings to the climate indices of precipitation and temperature. The goal is for the students to graph the data and then discuss any relationships they find with tree ring width and temperature and/or precipitation. This is real data so the relationships are not perfect which can lead to discussion about what other factors might influence the growth rate of trees. Some other factors that students postulate might be soil conditions or soil moisture. Additionally, multiple factors might influence tree growth rate – for example, a year with high snow fall might facilitate growth, but the same year with a hot,dry June might be detrimental to the growth of the tree. Students can also think about how tree ring width is a proxy for climate data.

Connecting Kids with Rocks – Gemstone Bracelet-making project

This project gets kids excited to go hike and explore rocks.
1) Provide a variety of semi-precious gemstones (mainly quartz and micro-crystalline quartz minerals) and string for kids to make a bracelet.
2) As the kids are constructing their bracelet, provide information about gemstone identification.
3) Provide an overview of likely geological settings for the minerals/gemstones to precipitate.
4) Encourage the kids to get out and explore the rocks around them.