Keywords: trenches, slag pile, stumps, regrowth; Lesson Plan Grade Level: enrichment third through sixth grade; Total Time Required for Lesson: 60 minutes; Setting: classroom, state park, or forest nearest to the school

Goals for the Lesson

  • The students will be able to investigate the forest environment for signs of the past.

  • The students will be able to photograph evidence of past usage of land.

Materials Needed

For each pair of students:

  • 1 digital camera

  • 1 clipboard & pencil

  • 2 worksheets

For class:

  • book binding machine

  • computer with photoflash program

  • printer, preferably colored

State Standards Addressed: (4.4) Agriculture and Society

Subjects Covered: history, science

Topics: forest history

Teaching Model: share, generalize


  1. Students get a partner and their materials.

  2. Each pair decides who will be the reporter and who will be the photographer first. Every 10 minutes, the teacher will call out, "Switch," and the students will reverse roles.

  3. The pairs are to walk around the designated area looking for signs of past life.

  4. When they locate evidence (rocks, water, roads, trenches, slag piles, stumps, building/structures, plant forms, foundations, and so on), students are to photograph the evidence twice. One picture is part of the item and the second picture is the whole item.

  5. The reporter is to document on the worksheet.

  6. Back in the classroom, the students use the computer to print out their photographs.

  7. Using the book binding machine, the students bind their pages into a guessing booklet titled "Signs of Forest History." The booklet is set up with one page being the partial picture so the reader is trying to guess what the item is and the next page is the complete picture. This will acknowledge if the reader is correct or not.


The next day, the students are to answer on their worksheet: "How did the past land use affect the current land conditions?"


Lynne Karish, Central Intermediate Unit , Our Lady of Victory School