Keywords: charcoal, booms, splash dams, tannery, erosion, Great Depression, CCC, eco-tourism; Grade Level: eleventh and twelfth grade, could be adapted to college students; Total Time Required for Lesson: two 40-minute class periods; Setting: classroom

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will be able to define the vocabulary terms and explain their relevance to the history of Oakville.
  • Students will explore forest usage on the development of Oakville.
  • Students will identify the technological advances that shaped forest-based industries
  • Students will identify the impact of forest usage in Oakville's history and the current challenges facing the community.

Materials Needed

State Standards Addressed: E & E Standards: Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources (4.2); Environmental Health (4.3); and Humans and the Environment (4.8)

Teaching Model: Document-Based Lesson (reading comprehension, information dissemination, and evaluation) and Cooperative Learning Exercises

Subjects Covered: social studies, Pa. history, history, forest biology

Topics: forest history, geography, historical land use, forest ecology, and local history

Overview: This document-based lesson plan is based on the evolution of an imaginary town in Pennsylvania. A community's economy that, the very survival of the town, was dependent on the forest. Students will be required to read the document and demonstrate their understanding through the evaluation exercises.


Class Session #1

  1. Introduce the document "Profile of a Community in Which Forest Usage Shaped Their History."
  2. Students read the document
  3. Students are placed in groups. Their in-class assignment is to define the vocabulary words and identify the technological advances that influenced the forest based industries of Oakville.

Class Session #2

  1. Student, again placed in groups, will construct a historical time-line tracing the history of the forest-based industries and the impact of American history on the development of Oakville.
  2. The rest of this session will be used to brainstorm, as a group, possible strategies to alleviate damage caused to local game lands, state parks, and state forests as outdoor recreation increases including those activities that damage the forested habitat.
  3. Each group will then present their time line and strategies to reduce damage to the forest caused by ATV's, mountain bikes, and horses to the rest of the class.


Student Evaluation

  1. Student's homework assignment, following Class Session #1, will require them to write a short essay (up to three pages) on the impact of economic activities on the forest surrounding Oakville and the current challenges facing this forest and the community. (Impact of iron furnace, logging practices, tannery operations, the CCC, and eco-tourism)
  2. At the outset of the second period, students will reconvene in their groups. Students will construct a time line and share their ideas on how to face the current challenge of eco-tourism and its impact on the forest.
  3. Each group will then present their strategies on promoting eco-tourism and the plans to do so in a manner that will sustain and not damage the forest located within the region's public lands.

Teacher Evaluation

  1. Evaluate group performance on construction of the time line.
  2. Evaluate individual performance on the essay assignment
  3. Evaluate the group's course of action with regards to the current challenges facing Oakville and the surrounding public lands.
  4. Evaluate student participation.


Bert Myers, EES, The Pennsylvania Game Commission