Keywords: Renewable, Durable, Benefits; Grade Level: 4th – 5th grades; Total Time Required: 45 minutes to one hour; Setting: Indoors

Subject Covered: The variety of wood products we use

Topics Covered:
The benefits of using wood over other materials, the difficulty of living without wood products and the differences it would make in our lives

Goals for the Lesson

The student will recognize that we use wood products throughout our day. There are products we use regularly that most of don't know contain wood products. The students will understand that wood is a great resource to supply many of our needs because it is renewable, less costly to harvest than other materials, it is durable and provides aesthetic value. Wood is an integral part of our lives.

Materials Needed

White board/chalk board, pencil and paper

State Standards Addressed:
4.2.4A Identify the needs of people
4.2.4B Identify products derived from natural resources


1. Begin by asking the class if wood and wood products have an important part in our lives. Acknowledge all answers as valid opinions.

2. Ask students to compile a list of wood products we use everyday. Some ideas might be:
furniture, houses, flooring, baseball bats, paper, fences, railings, ladders, fuel, cabinets, toys, flower boxes, molding, trim, steps, doors

3. Add items the students might not be aware of or should not forget:
toilet paper, ice cream, make-up, rayon cloth, sponges, film, shampoo, salad dressing, toothpaste

4. Ask:

  • From where do wood products come?
  • Why do you think we have chosen to use wood so many things we use regularly?

5. After listening to their ideas, share the following information:

  • Wood is a renewable resource. Define renewable resource. We can continue to plant and harvest trees in well managed forests. Wood is less costly to use than materials such as metal with less impact on the environment.
  • Wood is durable. Many of Pennsylvania's hard woods make strong, long lasting products.
  • Wood is attractive. Wood paneling and floors are more pleasing and warm than plastic, ceramics or metal.
  • Other benefits: Wood can be shaped, sawn and cut into a wider variety of products than can other materials. It is affordable and easily accessible.

1. Working individually or in pairs have students choose five products they use regularly. Have them discuss what other materials could be used to make the same product. Would a different material make the product better to use, more difficult to use or impossible to use or produce.

2. Provide half an hour for students to work.

3. Ask each individual or group to share at least one product they chose and explain to the class what they decided.


At the end of the sharing time, collect each student/group's paper. Review for content:

  • Were they able to identify five wood products?
  • Could they find a better product to fit the function?
  • Did they support their ideas with reasonable arguments?

Literature Source

"Incredible Wood" Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension


Julia Gordon, Homeschooling Parent