What our Forests lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Forests teaches students about the different types of these tree-heavy habitats. Students will learn about their structure and about the layers that most forests have. They will also discover facts about both the living and non-living things that live in these areas. This lesson is for students in 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need and what and how you need to prepare beforehand.
Options for Lesson
In the “Options for Lesson” section of the classroom procedure page, there are several suggestions for additional ideas or activities to incorporate into the lesson plan if you want to extend or adjust it. Some of these suggestions are related to the lesson activity. Students could either work alone or in larger groups rather than with partners. If you want, you could also conduct the activity outdoors or near an area with trees. Another option is to invite a forest ranger to speak with the class and answer questions. If possible, it could be fun to plan a field trip to a forest or local woodlands and coordinate this trip with the lesson. Another idea is to add a creative writing assignment in which students write a poem about trees. One more suggestion is to read a story about a character who lives in the forest.
The teacher notes page provides an extra paragraph of information to help guide the lesson. It could benefit you to teach this lesson in conjunction with others about trees, habitats, and other related subjects. You can use the blank lines to write down any other ideas or thoughts you have about the topic as you prepare.
FORESTS LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
What Is a Forest?
The Forests lesson plan contains three pages of content. The lesson begins with a short story about a girl and boy walking along a path surrounded by trees. It asks students whether they have ever experienced a place that is similar to the one the story describes. If they have, that means they were most likely in a forest or woodlands somewhere.
A forest is a large area of land covered with trees and other vegetation. It serves as an ecosystem or habitat for many different kinds of animals and plants. The one thing that we use to designate an area as a forest is an abundance of trees. While a woodland, like a forest, also has many trees, the trees are not as close together and as numerous as they would be in a forest. If you cannot see the sky very well because there are lots of trees that are close together, you are in a forest. If you can see the sky, you are most likely in a woodland.
In addition to trees, forests are home to many living and non-living things. Living things include grasses, shrubs, mosses, vines, and a wide variety of animals. The non-living things that exist in these habitats include water, rocks, minerals, dead plants, and soil. Both the living and non-living things interact with each other. For instance, living things might use the non-living things within their environment.
Forest Trees and Layers
Forests can be large or small, and there are several different types throughout the world. Some have coniferous trees that produce seeds inside cones, such as pine and spruce trees. Others may only have deciduous trees, which lose their leaves every winter and grow them back in the spring and summer. Other forests contain both types of trees. Many trees provide shelter for various animals, found inside the trunks, on the branches, below the roots, or on the leaves. Some also provide fruit and nuts as food for the animals.
People often enjoy visiting forests, especially when the land is undamaged and unpolluted. These habitats are incredibly important for life on Earth. Apart from being an ecosystem for millions of animals, forests provide oxygen. The trees also provide wood and timber that people can use as building materials, paper, and other products. They also help with climate control and keep the air clean by absorbing bad gases in the atmosphere.
Students will discover that most forests have a structure of four major layers: emergent, canopy, understory, and floor. The emergent layer is at the very top where the sun shines easily. This is also called the overstory layer. The next one is the canopy. This layer is the thickest, and much of the rainfall stops here and doesn’t make its way to the floor. Most trees grow to this level, and some plants in this area have roots that don’t reach the ground. These are air plants.
Third is the understory layer. It is home to many vines, dense vegetation, and very little sunlight. The reason for the lack of sunlight is the canopy, which blocks most of the sun’s rays. Finally, the forest floor is dark and damp. It is full of dead leaves and plants. There is little vegetation and little no access to wind or rain. Only 2% of the sun’s light reaches this lowest part of the forest.
There are three main types of forests: tropical, temperate, and boreal. Tropical forests are more often called rainforests. These areas are generally found near the equator in South America, Africa, and Southern Asia. They are dense, warm, and wet due to regular heavy rainfall. In fact, rainforests receive about 80 inches of rain every year. They also have a dry season. More animals live in tropical forests than in all the other habitats combined! These animals include snakes, baboons, tigers, elephants, toucans, and many more.
Temperate forests may contain all deciduous trees, all coniferous trees, or a mix of both. These forests exist on most continents in the world, such as Europe and Asia, and in many areas in the United States. The climate can range from cold to hot. They experience a typical winter and receive sufficient rainfall. Animals that call temperate forests home include chipmunks, elk, wolves, insects, and more.
Finally, boreal forests, also called coniferous forests, exist in Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and northern parts of Asia. These forests boast the tallest trees in the world. The trees have to survive long winters and short summers. In a boreal forest, it snows more often than it rains. The largest forest in the world is a boreal forest. The animals that live here include deer, grizzly bears, owls, giant pandas, and raccoons.
Here is a list of the vocabulary words students will learn in this lesson plan:
- Forest—a type of habitat that is a large area of land covered with trees and other vegetation
- Woodland—an area of land with many trees that are spread apart
- Coniferous tree—a tree that produces seeds in cones
- Deciduous tree—a tree that loses its leaves in the winter and grows new leaves in the summer
- Overstory—another name for the top layer (emergent layer) of a forest
- Air plant—a plant with roots that don’t reach the ground
- Rainforest—another name for a tropical forest
- Boreal—another name for a coniferous forest
FORESTS LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Forests lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will help reinforce students’ grasp of the material they learned throughout the lesson. You can refer to the classroom procedure guidelines to know when to hand out each worksheet.
LIVING IN THE FOREST ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
With a partner, students will pretend that they will have to live in the forest for a year. The only supplies they have are a knife and they clothes they are already wearing. The worksheet displays a chart with items they would find in the forest in one column and blank boxes in the other. In this column, students will write how they will use each item in the chart to survive for the year. Items include pieces of bark, old leaves, pine cones, and grasses. After they complete the chart, students will discuss with their partners the four questions on the second worksheet page. When they agree on their responses, they can write them in the spaces provided.
TROPICAL, TEMPERATE, CONIFEROUS PRACTICE WORKSHEET
The practice worksheet lists 18 statements that describe various forests. Students must decide whether each statement relates to a forest that is tropical (T), temperate (P), or coniferous (C). You can decide whether or not to let students refer to the content pages for help as they complete this assignment.
FORESTS HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
There are two parts of the homework assignment. The first part asks students to write the names of each of the forest layers. (The options to choose from are in the instructions.) They must then describe the traits of each layer in the space next to the layer name. For the second part, students must match descriptions to the correct term. There are eight statements and eight terms in the word bank.
Worksheet Answer Keys
The final two pages of this lesson plan PDF are answer keys for the practice and homework worksheets. All the correct answers are in red to make it easy to compare the keys with students’ responses. For the most part, your students’ work should mirror the answer keys. However, the first part of the homework assignment may have some varied answers, but they should provide the same general information as the sample answers on the answer key pages. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.