From attendees of
Wood–A Remarkable Fiber workshops and
Ecology, Economics and the Environment (E3) forest tours
Learning from the Forest. Lessons by Teachers is a collection of teaching activities and lesson plans developed by school teachers who attended a Wood — A Remarkable Fiber workshop or the Ecology, Economics and the Environment Forest Tour.

Wood — A Remarkable Fiber is a one (2 days) or two (4 days) credit course offered by the University of Idaho’s Department of Forest Products. This course provides hands-on learning experiences for creation of activities in wood technology suitable for use in educational curricula. Teachers participating in the course learn about the many products made of wood, wood properties, papermaking, and other topics related to the wood products industry. Discussions include many of the social impacts and issues related to sustainable forest products. Participants are asked to develop lesson plans for their students, which build on information they were given during the workshop. Many of these lesson plans have been quite unique and innovative. We would like to share a few of them with you.

The Ecology, Economics and the Environment Forest Tour is an interactive forest tour sponsored by the Idaho Forest Products Commission, the Science and Mathematics Consortium for Northwest Schools, and the Idaho Council on Economic Education. Teachers come from throughout Idaho to spend three intensive days exploring Idaho’s forests and their management. Highlights of the experience include learning while in the forest, investigating forest management techniques, interacting with professional foresters, touring a sawmill and observing an active logging job. The culmination of this experience is development of interdisciplinary lesson plans that encompass the real-world interplay of ecology and economics in Idaho’s forests. Selections from the lessons developed over the past five years are included in this collection.

Editors of Learning from the Forest. Lessons by Teachers

  • Michelle Youngquist, Education Coordinator, Idaho Forest Products Commission
  • Jan Pitkin, Administrative Assistant, Department of Forest,Products, University of Idaho
  • Dr. Tom Gorman, Department of Forest Products, University of Idaho
  • Dr. Leonard Johnson, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho


Science (Preschool): Trees and Forest Floors as a Natural Water Filter
Science (K-1st): Wood Products
Geography (K-1st): Geography of Idaho Trees
Science (K-1st): Wood Types/Porosity
Science (K-3rd): Creating a Machine for Harvesting Timber
Mathematics/Economics (6th-9th): Toothpicks and Timber
Life Science (4th-12th): I’ve Got You Under My Skin
Math/Science (4th-6th): Maximizing Lumber Cuts
Math/Science (4th-6th): Veneer Technology
Science (4th-6th): Grains and Laminates
Science (4th-6th): Grains and Laminates
Math (5th-6th): Board Feet
Science (5th-6th): Idaho Tree Identification and Biographies
Science/Government (7th-12th): Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd
Life Science (7th): Dealing with the Forest
Science/Consumer Economics (7th-12th): Wood Products Scavenger Hunt
Science (7th-12th): Show and Tell Lab
Science/Math/English (7th-12th): How Much Money Grows on Trees?
Social Science/Earth Science/Economics/Mathemalilcs (6th-12th): Forest Dilemmas
Science (7th): Beetle Infestation
Science (7th-12th): Land Use Decision
Industrial Arts (9th-12th): Comparison of Tangential (Plain Swan) to Radial (Quarter Swan) Dimensional Change when Moisture is Added or Removed
Industrial Arts (9th-12th): Transportation System of a Tree
Chemistry (11th-12th): Percent Moisture in Wood
Physical Science/Chemistry (9th-11th): Density of Wood Species
Science (7th-9th): Distillation of Wood
Science (7th-12th): Properties of Paper/Consumer Testing
Science (7th-12th): Stumped Seedlings Game (Tree Identification)
Science/Math (9th 12th) Calculating Cable Tension

Reference Material

Chemicals and Products from Trees