Dozens of official definitions of the term forest are in use throughout the world. In this activity, students will analyze various definitions of this term and then consider different cultural perspectives that affect people’s perceptions of forests.
This is one of 9 activities that can be found in PLT’s Exploring Environmental Issues: Forests of the World module. To get the activity, attend a training and receive PLT’s Forests of the World secondary module. Below are some supporting resources for this activity.
Download the copyright free student pages that are included with this activity:
A Forest Is...
What Do Forests Symbolize?
Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:
Read Tree Dreams, an eco-literacy coming of age novel for grades 8-12, written by award-winning Kristen Kaye. The story emerged from a campaign to bring tree tagging to life. Kaye’s vision was to tag trees with dreams about the way we connect to nature, to each other, and to our future. She explains that “like trees that share chemical messages through their root system for the benefit of the grove, Tree Dreamers’ tags share” messages of community that connect us all—kindness, wonder, stewardship (Kaye, treedreams.net/about). Read the book with your high school students and connect with nature by tree tagging.
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment
Forest management in the eastern United States is faced with many modern challenges. To address the changes, researchers designed a long-term, large-scale experimental study of forest management and its impacts on plants and animals. This study, referred to as the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment, is in its 10th year and there are already some interesting findings.
Canopy in the Clouds
This website provides an immersive video experience that presents an up-close look at a tropical montane cloud forest. Visitors click on numbered links to access video clips and background information for teachers and information for grades 6-8 on topics such as water, weather, soils, ecology, and the science processes. Canopy in the Clouds is also available in from this Spanish-language website (Dosel en las Nubes).
Sample Lesson Plan Presentation
Use this Lesson Plan Presentation as an example.
A free app that can be downloaded onto Apple devices. This is a good tool for teachers and classrooms. Easily create bar, line and pie charts that you can customize, save and e-mail or upload. The charts you create can be saved using multiple color schemes and in multiple sizes. The app also works without an internet connection.
EPA’s new EnviroAtlas tool is designed to help communities and researchers make informed planning and policy decisions related to the environment and ecosystems. EnviroAtlas provides datasets and interactive tools to allow users to explore the many benefits people receive from nature, often referred to as ecosystem services. EnviroAtlas includes over 300 data layers, letting users analyze how decisions affect ecosystems and their ability to provide goods and services. Key components include:
Bears of the World: Interactive Range Map
Blue Raster and Bear Trust International’s interactive world map shows students and educators in grades 9-12 where eight different species of wild bears live. The map includes photos and facts on American and Asiatic black bears, brown bears, giant pandas, polar bears, sloth bears, and sun bears.