Dependable Forests

Dependable Forests

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old

Climate & Environment



Students explore the concept of sustainable forest

avatar Submitted By:

April 7, 2021


  • Citizenship
  • Critical Thinking
  • Project Based Learning

Learning Objectives

  • Students will… Explore a sustainable forest in order to understand how it can be used consistently. Understand the importance of protecting forests not only for the trees, but for wildlife as well. Understand that sustainable forestry practices have a social, economic, and environmental impact.

Guiding Ideas


In this lesson, students will explore a sustainable forest. They will begin at the lumberyard where they can see stored lumber that can be used to construct buildings, made into paper, or used as yard material. Students will then travel up a path to see what a 40-year sustainable forest cycle looks like. Moving forward, they will continue up a path to a hiking trail where they will come across a conservationist and a local hiker. Finally, students will be introduced to the concept of a hectare and how it is related to sustainable forestry.

Guiding Questions

  • How can wood from a forest be used in a sustainable manner?
  • What does it mean for a forest to be sustainable?
  • Why is forest conservation important for humans? For wildlife?
  • How can we help conserve forests and ensure sustainable practices are being used?
  • What are the social, economic, and environmental impacts of sustainable forestry?
  • Teacher Preparation & Notes

Possible NGSS standard(s):

K-ESS3-3: Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

MS-ESS3-3: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

The teacher will need to collect materials made from trees. Some examples may be a wooden toy, clothespins, paper, cardboard, toilet paper, any deodorants or insecticides made from tree chemicals, cellophane, sandwich bags, fruit, etc. There are more examples listed in the link called What Products Are Made from Trees. Other websites may offer other common and unusual examples to garner student attention.

The following vocabulary will be used in this lesson and the teacher may want to introduce these to the students beforehand.

  • sustainable
  • hectares
  • conservation
  • biodiversity

Student Activities


The teacher will begin by asking students to look around the classroom or think about their home and jot down all the items they think come from trees. Students will share some of their responses and the teacher will put those on the board.

Next, the teacher will pull out a box of items that are made from different parts of trees. S/he should try to choose some unique items that students may not have considered before. The teacher will ask students how they think it is possible for there to always be an availability of these products. This will lead to a discussion on what the word sustainable means and how it relates to forestry and products made from trees (PE1, PE2).

Before going into the Minecraft world, students will watch the Georgia-Pacific video (linked) and discuss the social, economic, and environmental impacts of sustainable forestry according to the video (PE1, PE2, PE5).

Minecraft World Exploration:

Students should take notes on what they learn as they complete this exploration—specifically on how sustainable forestry can impact social, economic, and environmental aspects of the city.

Students will begin their exploration at the front of the lumberyard. This is where they should think about what that lumber may be used for in the city (PE1).

Next, they will head up the hill to find out what sustainable forestry is, as well as find out what the management cycle is (PE1, PE2). Students can press on the button of the management cycle NPC to see what a 40-year cycle looks like (PE4).

After climbing up the hill a bit more and crossing the road, students will come across an NPC that will tell them about conservation. This is where they can gather some more information on the environmental impact of sustainable forestry. Following the trail up the mountain, students will eventually come across a hiker that explains the importance of caring for our environment (PE3, PE4).

Once the students hike back down the trail, they will turn right and learn what a hectare is and why it is an important concept in sustainable forestry.


In small groups, students will discuss what they learned about the social, economic, and environmental impacts of sustainable forestry both from the video and the Minecraft world (PE5). Then the class will come together to share out. The teacher should note these ideas on the board.

Students will then create digital infographics that share information and facts about the social, economic, and environmental impacts of sustainable forestry (PE5). For this part, they will use their notes from the lesson, but they will also need to do some research. The teacher may want to ask that students add facts about forestry specific to their county/state/country.

Once completed, the students will upload their final infographic product to a class collection site such as Sway, Wakelet, or Padlet (PE5).

Performance Expectations

Students will be able to…

  • Understand how wood from a forest can be used in a sustainable manner (PE1).
  • Define what it means for a forest to be sustainable (PE2).
  • Understand why forest conservation is important for humans and wildlife (PE3).
  • Explain how we can help conserve forests and ensure sustainable practices are being used (PE4).
  • Research, understand, and share the social, economic, and environmental impacts of sustainable forestry (PE5).


  • Citizenship
  • Critical Thinking
  • Project Based Learning