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About This Lesson Plan

SUBJECT
Science

GRADE
3-5

DURATION
40 Mins

Lesson 2: Forest Ecosystems

Word of the Day: ECOSYSTEM—The animals, plants, and resources in a particular area

OBJECTIVE
Learn how people can better use resources and preserve the environment and forest ecosystems

MATERIALS
"I speak for the trees." student worksheet, two pencils, paper, Internet and library access, writing journal

DIRECTIONS
Engage:
1.
Watch and discuss the following video from the Forest Stewardship Council to introduce the concept of sustainable forest management: http://www.fsc.org/1957.html.

2. Ask: A forest is a type of ecosystem. All parts of an ecosystem depend on one another and each has an important role to play. When one part of an ecosystem is changed, it can affect the entire system. How was the Amur tiger's habitat affected by illegal logging and then improved through sustainable actions? What is forest management? (Finding responsible ways to use and protect forest resources.)

Think and Discuss:
3.
Create a chart that outlines the role of trees in a forest ecosystem, including:

  • Provides food, shelter, and safety for animals and insects
  • Filters and cleans water (roots)• Holds soil in place to prevent erosion
  • Collects pollutants like carbon dioxide and releases breathable oxygen (leaves)

4. Discuss how human needs for forest resources can be balanced with maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

5. Distribute the "I speak for the trees." student worksheet and read the introduction. Use the graphs and statistics to answer the questions. Encourage students to use their writing journals to record their answers.

Do:
6. Ask:
Imagine that our town or city includes a large forest that is home to an endangered spider. How might a water company want to use this land? (Keep the forest in place, it is a natural filter for the local water supply.) How might a builder want to use it? (Use it for wood for homes or land for building.)

7. Instruct students to take on the role of someone within this fictional community such as a kid, parent, tourist, builder, forest manager, scientist, farmer, or water company executive. Ask students to think about how their character would want to use this land. Students should work together to create a sustainable plan that meets the needs of everyone in the community.

Click here for additional teaching materials and resources about forest ecosystems and sustainable forest management.

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