Science at Home: How old is a Tree?

Suddenly we have a “Science” explosion in our house. It goes to show that “the more you do, the more you do”. I guess it brings things front of mind and reminds you that there are simple learning opportunities around every corner. ┬áScience is all about exploring your environment and asking questions.


We were at the park at the weekend and saw a HUGE tree. Which made  me ask “I wonder how old that tree is?”. I ask The Boy if he knew. He said “I think it is very old”.. and so the conversation started.

Talking about how old a tree is, may seem “obvious” to us adults, but to children everything is new. So we discussed how each year the tree’s trunk adds a layer and therefore gets thicker. In good year’s those layers will be wider as the tree grew fasters and it less good conditions thinner.  It is only when you cut down a tree, that you can accurately count how many years it is old.

However, thickness of a tree is still a rough estimation – i.e. the thing tree will be a lot younger, maybe 20years old, a medium sized tree will be maybe 100 or 150 years old… and so on.

We found 3 very different sized trees and ordered them by age.

Tree Rings - how old is a tree

Then we found a tree that had lost a branch – and we looked at the branches “circles” to show what a tree trunk would look like if you cut it down and thus what sort of circles you would be counting!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post over at Science Sparks that helps us work out how TALL a tree is through simple trigonometry – I MUST remember to do this experiment when The Boy starts trigonometry at school!

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