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2009 Archive:
Forest Resources & Environmental Sciences Institute 2009
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Forestry Teaching Units in fulfillment of the 2009 Forestry Summer Teacher Institute


            Developed for Kindergarten

Unit Overview
This tree unit will educate kindergarten students about tree identification. I will focus on six common trees the western part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We will study oak, maple, birch, poplar, white pine and red pine trees. Students will show an understanding of a tree’s basic needs and identify its parts. They will learn characteristics of each tree and learn simple vocabulary words to describe the trees.

      Developed for Kindergarten

Unit Overview
Students will understand that trees are interdependent living components of the Earth, and as trees change, their role in the ecosystem also changes.

       Developed for 1st graders in urban setting.

Unit Overview
I developed this unit to supplement the readings and activities that are mandated by the Detroit Public Schools.  The Detroit Public Schools makes sure that the teachers follow an instructional sequence that was developed by the district.  The district does this because our population is transient and many students move to several different schools throughout the year.  The district wants to make sure that if a student moves, the classwork will be at approximately the same place as the school the child came from. The only drawback is that this framework leaves little room for developing units that are not part of the curriculum.   I spent many hours looking through the curriculum guides and the instructional sequences to find a place where I could supplement the curriculum with the activities that I learned about at the institute.  The following unit was developed using the Detroit Curriculum as well as the information learned at the Michigan Tech Forest Ecology Institute.


      1st  Grade Science

Unit Overview:
Through the course of this 6-day unit, students will be engaged in discussions and activities that will enhance their knowledge of local tree species.  Students will learn to recognize leaves and seeds of trees found in their community.  Students will also develop an appreciation for the forested areas that are becoming ever so rare in large, metropolitan areas throughout the country.

             4th Grade

Unit Overview
This forest unit is part of an Ecosystem unit that covers the major types of ecosystems in Michigan (Great Lakes, rivers/streams, forests, wetlands, coastal dunes, urban areas, and agriculture) to give students a basic understanding of ecological principals within these areas. The forest unit will give students the opportunity to learn about a forest habitat.  Key concepts:  food chains and food webs; basic needs in a forest ecosystem; parts of a tree; tree identification; social, economic, and ecological importance of this ecosystem; and historical examples of positive and negative impact by humans. 

  • Tree Investigations by Jeanne Kitzmann

            2nd Grade

Unit Overview
Children will be introduced to the basic features of a tree. They will understand how each part of the tree is needed for the tree to live and learn the importance of detail and accurate descriptions in science. They will learn how trees can be temporary or permanent homes for many different types of creatures. They will understand how the parts of a tree work together to help a tree get the food, water and minerals it needs to survive. They will see the real life connection to understanding vertical and horizontal measurements of large objects and understanding of how to measure a tree. They will learn about the characteristics of leaves. They will learn that each living plant and animal has unique characteristics that are used to identify it. They will learn how to determine the age of a tree and how climate can affect the growth of its rings.


            6th & 8th grade Math

Unit Overview
Students will solve multi-step problems involving circumference and area of circles, surface area and volume. This unit provides hands on geometry with real world applications, and allows students to experience how geometry is used in the study of measuring trees. The unit targets an LD (learning disabled) High School Geometry class.

            8th grade students as a review of 6th grade objectives before the fall MEAP.

Unit Overview
Students will learn how to identify, measure diameter, height of trees and make observations about undergrowth.  They will then use this data to determine age and historical past of Duncan Wood’s and Mulligan’s Hollow.  From there students will research the written history of both parks.  Through these activities students will be able recognize the impact human history has had on shaping the environment around us.  Students will have the opportunity to see some big, awe-inspiring trees right in their own backyard, which in turn will promote discussion about world forests. 

            Grade 7 Science & Grade 7 Science GT (Gifted & Talented Program)

Unit Overview
The purpose of this unit is to introduce students to the concept of ecology and the various types of forest ecologies. Students will use various methods such as vocabulary, mapping, topography and tree measurement, as well as Carbon-capturing methods to understand the importance of the forest ecosystems and different forest types.

         7th and 8th Grade Geography

Unit Overview:  
This unit covers the five themes of Geography (location, place, movement, human/environment interaction, and region).  This is a five-day unit plus one day of assessment, with each day covering a different theme.  The forests and the Upper Peninsula will be integrated into the five themes.  Materials and presentations will come from the Forest Ecology and Resources Teacher Institute at MTU.  Through discussion, critical thinking, and hands-on learning, students will investigate the uses of a forest past and present.  The unit provides plenty of activity in and outside of the classroom.



       High School Environmental Science & Mathematics
Unit Overview
This unit focuses on measurement of individual trees and on describing tree plots; it incorporates the big idea society’s impact on forest resources. Students are expected to take careful measurements and perform calculations that allow them to determine the various dimensions of a tree and estimate the tree density of a given plot.


       Gr. 11-12 Advanced Biology

Unit Overview
The unit is designed for eleventh and twelfth grade Advanced Biology at Charlevoix High School (Charlevoix, MI).  The major themes addressed are: forest history, forest health, tree identification, and forest measurements. The unit designed is based on Understanding by Design (UBD), where units are designed beginning with standards and objectives, and ending with lessons and activities.  The unit addresses the State of Michigan High School Content Expectations.  The length of the unit is dependent upon individual situations.  Charlevoix High School operates on a block schedule, with one 60 minute block and two 93 minute blocks each week.  Under that schedule, it is anticipated that this unit will take three-four weeks including field trips and assessments.

            High School Environmental Science class

Unit Description
This unit is designed to supplement and add to my current forestry unit used in a HS environmental science class.  This unit will focus on activities and terminology.  Typically I will teach terminology and then get students in the field.  I plan on having students identify trees, perform plot calculations, identify what stage of succession a forest is in, calculate the carbon sequestration of a stand of trees, and capture/identify any insects which may be harmful to the trees.

For more information regarding the Institute, contact Joan Schumaker-Chadde at 906-487-3341 or

Joan Schumaker-Chadde, Course Coordinator
Western U.P. Center for Science, Math & Environ. Education
105 Dillman Hall
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Dr., Houghton, MI 49931
Tel: 906-487-3341 Fax: 906-487-1620

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