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Making the Forest the Best It Can Be

Keywords: Forest Management, Well Managed Forest, Poorly Managed Forest, Silviculture, Competition, Diversity, Clear Cut, Shelterwood, Single Tree Selection, Group Tree Selection; Grade Level: Fifth Grade; Total Time Required: Four days, one thirty minute class session each day; Setting: Outdoor and Indoor

Subjects: Ecology, Writing, Art

Topics: Forests and Forest Management

Goals    

  • Students will identify factors of good and bad forest management
  • Students will identify the benefits of good forest management and the ramifications of bad forest management
  • Students will identify different types of forest management.

Materials

  • Pictures of well managed forests
  • Pictures of forests that have not been well managed 
  • Factor cards (see attachment 1
  • Paper, Crayons, and Markers
  • Web worksheet (see attachment 2)
  • Definition worksheet (see attachment 3)
  • Pictures/ diagrams of different methods of selective forestry (taken from FRIT power point)
  • Writing prompt paper (see attachment 4) discussing why cutting down trees can be good for the forest and the ways the methods of cutting down trees and the benefits of each
  • Writing prompt (see attachment 5) discussing whether or not the forest we visited was well managed or poorly managed and why

State Standards Addressed:
PA Environment and Ecology 4.4.5 C. (Investigate the factors influencing plant and animal growth).
PA Environment and Ecology 4.5.8 A. (Explain how Best Management Practices can be used to mitigate environmental problems).
PA Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening 1.4.5 C. (Write persuasive pieces.  Include a clearly stated position or opinion.  Include supporting details citing sources when needed.)
PA Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening 1.5.5 A (Write with a clear focus, identifying topic, task, and audience.)
PA Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening 1.5.5.C (Organize writing in a logical order.  Use appropriate transitions within sentences and between paragraphs. Include an identifiable introduction, body, and conclusion.)
PA Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening 1.5.5.F (Use grade appropriate conventions of language when writing and editing.  Spell common, frequently used words correctly.  Use capital letters correctly.  Punctuate correctly.  Use correct grammar and sentence formation.)

Procedures

Day 1:     Introduction- Students will be shown a picture of a well managed forest and a picture of a forest that has not been well managed (both forests are roughly the same age).  Students will be asked to orally reflect on what they see and to determine which forest is well managed and which forest has not.
    Activity: The teacher will show students cards with different factors that affect a forest’s health (see attachment 1).  Teacher will explain all unfamiliar words.  Students will group the cards into three categories- healthy, not healthy, and depends on the forest.  After the students have finished the activity the teacher will lead a discussion to help correct any student misconceptions.  Students will identify that well managed forests have different types of trees, different ages of trees, and access to sun, water, good soil, and nutrients.
    Conclusion/ Evaluation: Students will be asked to draw a picture of a well managed forest using crayons, markers, and white paper.

Day 2:    Introduction: Teacher lead review discussion on the characteristics of well managed forests and not well managed forests.
    Activity: Students will look at pictures of well managed forests that are different ages and asked their opinions on them.  Students will identify the differences and changes in the pictures.  The teacher will discuss how all the forest are healthy and well managed and why.  Students will brainstorm orally what the trees in the forest need to survive and thrive.  Students will then look at different aged pictures of forests that are not well managed and asked their opinions on them.  The teacher will discuss how all the forests are not well managed and how students can determine that they are not well managed.  Students will brainstorm on a web (see attachment 2) why the forests look as they do (discussing the motivation of the property owner).  The teacher will introduce the vocabulary words clear cut, thinning, shelterwood, single tree selection, group selection, competition, forest diversity, silviculture, young forest, older forest, and stand.  The teacher and students will talk about the benefits and drawbacks of each of the words. 
    Conclusion/ Evaluation: Students will complete a worksheet matching the word to the definition of the above mentioned vocabulary words (see attachment 3).

Day 3: Introduction: Oral vocabulary review of yesterdays evaluation worksheet (see attachment 3)
    Activity: Students will view a picture of three trees in the forest (some are healthy trees and some are not) and the teacher will ask if each tree has sufficient water, nutrients, soil, and sun.  The teacher will ask if the trees have competition or problems caused by animals or humans.  Students will be shown pictures/ diagrams of different methods of selective forestry (taken from FRIT power point on Forest Management).
    Conclusion/ Evaluation: Students will complete a writing prompt paper (see attachment 4) discussing why cutting down trees can be good for the forest and the ways the methods of cutting down trees and the benefits of each.  Writing prompt may be completed for homework due to time constraints.

Day 4: Introduction: On the way to our local forest students will play a review game- naming characteristics of a well managed forest and a poorly managed forest.
    Activity: Students will travel to a local forest and discuss what they observe there.  Students will talk about the different characteristics of the forest that we are in.  Students will discuss what age the forest is and how you can tell.

Conclusion/ Evaluation

When we return to school the students will complete a writing prompt (see attachment 5) discuss whether or not the forest we visited was well managed or poorly managed and why.  Writing prompt may be completed for homework due to time constraints.

Sources

General Information from 2010 Forest Resource Institute for Teachers Course taught by David Jackson, Bryan Swistock, Joseph Harding, and Sanford Smith
Forest Management Information and Diagrams from Introduction to Forest Management and Silviculture power point by David Jackson
        Forest Health Information from Your Forest How it Grows power point by
        David Jackson
        All worksheets/attachments were created by Adelaide Rump

Author

Adelaide Rump, Wonderland Charter School