Keywords: timber harvesting, compromise, clear cutting, selective cutting, wildlife management, silviculture, diameter limits, select cutting, high grading, shelterwood cutting; Lesson Plan Grade Level: eighth grade; Total Time Required for Lesson: two 40-minute class periods; Setting: classroom

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will develop an understanding of the strategies used for the sustainability of forests in Pennsylvania
  • Students will be able to identify the root of conflicts and develop strategies to be used for problem resolution.
  • Students will be able to identify and analyze the importance of our forests and forest management techniques, particularly in regard to the issues of tree harvesting and deer management techniques.

Materials Needed

  • chalkboard
  • notebook
  • pencil
  • teacher-generated support materials (handouts)
  • PowerPoint projector

State Standards Addressed: Civics and Government (5.2.9.C., 5.2.9.E., 5.2.9.G.)

Teaching Model: The 4MAT System (Motivation, Information, Practice, Application)

Subjects Covered: civics, PA history

Topics: the study of silviculture (the art and science of controlling forests)


  1. Make 25 copies of the teacher-generated support materials.
  2. Prepare the background notes or PowerPoint for the lecture.

Doing the Activity

  1. Students will be asked to take a pretest on their knowledge of key vocabulary terms and concepts related to the study of silviculture. Students will also be asked to recall their knowledge of products that contain wood.
  2. Students will be told that today's lesson will focus of the understanding of why people have conflicts and what methods can be used during conflict resolution. The conflict to be discussed during this particular lesson will focus around the management of our local resources and forested areas.
  3. In order to familiarize each student with key terminology and concepts related to the study of silviculture, have them take notes via a power point presentation or handouts.
  4. After the class has received background information regarding the use of silviculture and related concepts, have students work in groups of three (heterogeneous grouping preferred). Each group will be given a different scenario to read and discuss that deals with forest management. After reading the teacher-generated support material, each group will develop a general consensus on the reason for conflict and the different alternatives to peacefully resolve the conflict.
  5. After the different alternatives to problem resolution have been identified in each scenario, have students explain which one they feel is the best and why.


  • Teachers' evaluation of in class participation (grading rubric)
  • Collection of the written work based on the teacher-generated support material


Downing, Adam, Sanford Smith, James Finley, and Shelby Chunko (2000). From the Woods: Forest Stewardship . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Hartley, Vincent (2003). American Civics . New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston.

Smith, Sanford, and Paul Brohn (2002). Summer Key for PA Trees . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Smith, Sanford, Anni Davenport, Robert Hansen, Shelby Chunko, and James Finley (2000). From the Woods: Harvesting Trees. University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Smith, Sanford, James Finley, and Michael Jacobson (2002). From the Woods: Sustainable Forestry . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Wimer, Lynnette, James Finley, Steven Jones, and Ellen O'Donnell (1994). Forest Stewardship: Terminology . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.


Joe Matson, West Branch Area High School