6-8 Teachers Guide
The Greatest Good film was produced by the US Forest Service in honor of its Centennial celebration in 2005. The film offers a historical overview of the last 100 years of natural resource management.
The Greatest Good can be purchased on DVD and includes three disks. Disc 1 contains the two-hour history documentary film, detailing, in four 30-minute parts, some of the major Forest Service events and issues from the early 1900's to present. Disc 2 contains bonus materials, including the original film trailers (ads), as well as music videos, various views on hot topics in the Forest Service, and historic public service announcements. Disc 3 contains additional bonus materials including such topics as Fire, Smokey Bear, brief historical short stories, and historical out-takes from the film. To learn more about what is on the three discs, see The Greatest Good DVD index.
Lesson Plans & Discussion Ideas
"The Fight for Conservation, 1864-1910," [Disc 1, Part I] - initial idea of public lands in America and the development of the US Forest Service
- If Trees Could Talk, Module 5 ("A New Profession Takes Seed") - The Forest History Society offers students the opportunity to study the origin and development of forestry and the profession.
- Roosevelt's Legacy: Conservation, a lesson plan provided by the Theodore Roosevelt Association. Students become familiar with the scope of Roosevelt's contribution to conservation in America.
"Building the System, 1911-1940," [Disc 1, Part II] - the management of public lands by the US Forest Service
- If Trees Could Talk, Module 3 ("Fueling the Fires of Industrialization") -The Forest History Society offers students the opportunity to examine the role wood played in the American Industrial Revolution.
- Revitalizing the Spirit - Students can begin to gain an understanding of the conservation movement in the 20th century.
"Building the System, 1911-1940," [Disc 1, Part II] and/or "Boom!"[Part III] or "Fire"[Disc 3] - information about wildfires on public lands
- If Trees Could Talk, Module 9 ("Wildfires: Fight, Flight or Coexistence?") - The Forest History Society has students examine the history of wildland fires and their impact on society in America. Exploring our approaches to living with fire, students will examine various fire management techniques including prescribed fires, fire suppression, and fire prevention.
- "Living with Fire" The US Forest Service offers students the opportunity to learn more about Fire Management through an interactive game. (Grades 4 and up)
- Living with Fire, a PLT activity (grades 4-8) - Students will learn of several approaches to fire management.
- The Natural Inquirer "Wildland Fire Edition," a middle school science education journal created by the USDA Forest Service. This particular edition focuses on wildfires.
- Taking a Stand: Pros and Cons of Forest Fires, created by the Educational Broadcasting Corporation, students will learn about various aspects of forest fires, as well as research techniques and formulating opinions backed by facts.
"Boom!" [Disc 1, Part III] - Forest Service management policies after W.W.II -meeting the needs of the public
- If Trees Could Talk, Module 4: ("From Arbor Day to Earth Day") - The Forest History Society has students analyze the influence of diverse forms of public opinion on the development of environmental public policy and decision making from the early industrial age through the postwar era.
- If Trees Could Talk, Module 6 ("From Forest to Farm to Urban Forest") - The Forest History Society has students examine what happens when the postwar urban development boom crowds out the forest.
"The Greatest Good? 1971-2005" [Disc 1, Part IV] - evolving Forest Service management policies - policy changes due to new understandings of ecosystems
- If Trees Could Talk, Module 7 ("Trees in Your Own Backyard") - The Forest History Society has students consider human impacts on trees in the city landscape and the responsibility of citizens for preserving the urban forest.
- If Trees Could Talk, Module 10 ("The Significance of Private Forest in the U.S. ") - The Forest History Society has students study the history of private forests and the values these lands have to the United States.
- Design a Community Forest [PDF] - This activity from the National Arbor Day Foundation allows students to design a community forest and examine the importance of tree diversity.
- We All Need Trees, a PLT* activity (grades 4-6) - Students examine the idea of sustainable use of resources.
- Renewable or Not?, a PLT* activity (grades 4-8) - Students examine society's use of natural resources.
- A Forest of Many Uses, a PLT* activity (grades 5-8) - Students examine how forests are managed to satisfy a variety of human needs.
"Conservation Leaders" [Disc 2] - a brief overview of the Forest Service and conservation
- Caring for Our Forests (grade 6-8, Math unit ideas) Unit lesson plan ideas, regarding forest management.
"Forest Service vs. Park Service" [Disc 2] - differences between these two federal agencies
- Discussion ideas: What is the difference between Forest Service and Park Service? Do they have the same mission? How do you think public lands should be managed? Have students develop their own "public lands management policies."
"International Programs" [Disc 3] - highlights work of the Forest Service around the world
- If Trees Could Talk, Module 8: ("Living in a Global Forest") - The Forest History Society has students learn where our wood comes from now and analyze global efforts to manage the world's forests.