Resources for Grades 6-8 Activity – What’s in a Label?

Students explore the environmental, social, and economic criteria of forest certification and consider possible benefits and limitations of certification for both forests and people. They then examine the steps involved in making a certified forest product and the importance of certifying each step of the process.

For the complete activity and more like this, purchase the Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide at and/or attend a professional development training in your state.

Below are some supporting resources for this activity.


Download the copyright-free student pages that are included with this activity:

Making a Paper Bag (PDF)

Spanish Student Page:

Hacer una bolsa de papel (PDF)


The following tools and resources may be used to enhance the activity.

  • Video: Mill Products

    Mill Products.” This 8:37-minute video describe some of the thousands of products made from forests that we use every day and that provide a financial incentive to manage forests. It shows a school’s heating system that is fueled by wood chips, as well as mill operations that make different forest products, paper, lumber, and veneer. It is one of a series of BeLeaf It or Not! videos by Michigan State University Extension, which are geared for students.

  • Video: How to Make Veneer

    How to Make Veneer.” This 5:37-minute video shows how wood veneer is made from trees and talks about the uses of veneer. It is one of a series of BeLeaf It or Not! videos by Michigan State University Extension, which are geared for students.

  • Video: How to Make Paper

    How to Make Paper.” This 5:55-minute video shows the industrial paper-making process from trees to the finished rolls of paper. It is one of a series of BeLeaf It or Not! videos by Michigan State University Extension, which are geared for students.

    For activities: Make Your Own Paper (Variation for Grades 3–5), We All Need Trees, What’s in a Label?

  • SFI Florida Forest Partners

    Use this 3:18-minute video to experience an on-the-ground view of third-party forest product certification audit in the state of Florida. Auditors visit operations to verify that the forest is managed in a sustainable way as part of the certification process.

  • Promoting Sustainability on Managed Forestland

    Use this 7:27-minute video to teach about how forest certification can work to protect and promote the sustainable use and management of forests on millions of hectares. Hear from SFI Chief Conservation Officer Paul Trianosky describe the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s four pillars of work: Standards, Education, Community Engagement, and Conservation.

  • Packaging Preferences in the US

    57% of consumers are actively taking steps to reduce their use of plastic packaging, according to the 2020 study U.S. Packaging Preferences 2020 released by Two Sides North America, Inc. Through this study, students can explore consumer preferences, perceptions and attitudes toward packaging materials. On top of that, find out about environmental labels on products for recycling or composting, and labels that meet certain environmental standards, such as forest certification standards.

  • Think Green Infographic

    Produced by the EPA, this Think Green Infographic is a great way to get your students thinking through simple, thought-provoking questions – Do You Really Need It?, How “Green” Is It?, Can You Reuse It?, and Can You Buy It Used? The graphic provides tips and action steps middle and high schoolers can take to reduce their impact on the environment and promote conservation.

  • Product Life Cycle Assessment Worksheet

    TeachEngineering offers a basic life cycle assessment method that assigns fictional values for different steps in a product’s life cycle. Students can complete a product analysis using this worksheet and then compare product impacts, and brainstorm ways to reduce unwanted environmental effects.

  • Greener Blue Jeans

    Who doesn’t like blue jeans? The indigo dye that provides their distinctive color holds up to detergents, but ages into that soft, worn look. Indigo is one of the oldest dyes used for coloring textiles. For thousands of years it was extracted from tropical plants in Asia, the Middle East and the Americas, with various unpleasant side effects. This Berkeley University of California article describes the research involved in finding a cleaner route to produce the iconic dye.