Key words: Wood products, natural resource, renewable resource; Grade Level: Lesson plan can be adjusted for levels K-3; Time required: 45 minutes: Setting: inside the classroom

Topic: Identification of wood products

Subject: Science, Writing


Students will be able to identify a variety of products that come from trees.
Students will write about ways they use tree products in daily living.


several sets of photo cards enough for classroom group activity, journal page (see picture cards that follow)

State standards addressed:

4.2 Students will identify plants, animals and water as natural resources. Students will identify products made by trees.
4.8 Humans and the Environment: Students will identify items used in daily life that are from natural resources.


cooperative learning


* Introduce the topic of trees and generate interest/prior knowledge about trees through brief sharing time. (2-3 min.)
Group activity: Students will be divided into pairs and given a stack of photo cards. They will be asked to look at all the pictures and put all of the things that come from a tree on a pile. (allow 10 min.) They will record the number of photo cards they believe to be made from trees as a record of prior knowledge.
Picture walk and discussion: Children will be asked to generate responses about items they know are products of trees. As the students generate responses, picture cards will be placed on a class outline of a tree for a classroom bulletin board of Things We Get From Trees. (Teacher will provide an empty tree form on which to place the photo cards) In the end, each of these pictures relates as a tree product and the children will likely be surprised by the variant ways trees are used and important in daily living. Take time to talk about these surprises and explain the connections as you go. Let the pictures guide your discussion as cues. Compare prior knowledge of the topic.
* In the context of this lesson, children will be introduced to the way trees are harvested and utilized commercially…..each part of the tree has a special use and today we utilize all parts of the tree. Different types and sizes of trees are used for different products. Over 5000 products have some basis in a tree. The overall big idea is to convey that tree/wood products are used in many ways that are not apparent yet, vital. We want to enlarge their view of forest/tree importance and introduce the concept of sustainability and renewability of trees.
To conclude the lesson, students will write a journal response to ways they use trees every day. They can also be invited to draw a wood use that is not pictured on the photographs and add their picture to the tree for future growth of this concept throughout the unit or if extra time is available.


The journal response will provide evidence for evaluation. Kids that struggle with the writing will be assisted with the visual aide/ bulletin board we made in the lesson. Words can be added beside each picture to provide a word bank!

Useful Resources

I Utilized the product list found on this website: to generate ideas for pictures of commonly used wood products. (Titled: Wood you believe we get so much from trees?)


From the Woods: Educational Series About Forestry For Youth produced by The Penn State College of Agricultural Services Cooperative Extension.

  • Incredible Wood by Sanford S. Smith and Lee R. Stover, 2008.
  • Sustainable Forestry by Stanford Smith, James C. Finley And Michael G. Jacobson, 2002.
  • Paper! by Stanford Smith, James C. Finley and Lee Stover, 2002.

Children's Literature Connections: Both of these books should be pulled in as read-alouds during this topic.

  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (fiction book addressing: sustainability, conservation, interrelation and interdependence of forest and water with people and animals, etc…)
  • Be A Friend to Trees by Patricia Lauber. (written in 1994, content-based knowledge on trees)


Marianne Garlicki, State College Area School District, elementary