9-12 Teachers Guide
The Greatest Good film was produced by the U.S. Forest Service in honor of its centennial in 2005. The film offers a historical overview of the last 100 years of natural resource management.
The Greatest Good DVD includes three disks, and is available for purchase. 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] - the 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") (grades 9-10) The Forest History Society has students study the origination and development of the Forest Service.
- "The Conservation Movement at a Crossroads: The Hetch Hetchy Controversy" by Michael Federspiel and Timothy Hall at the Library of Congress website. (grades 9-12) Students study the debate over damming the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park which many see as Conservationist verses Preservationist. This event is often seen as a turning point in the American conservation movement. (Civics and Government)
"Building the System, 1911-1940" [Disc 1, Part II] - management of public lands by the US Forest Service
- If Trees Could Talk, Module 3 ("Fueling the Fires of Industrialization") - (grades 9-10) The Forest History Society has students examine the role wood played in the American Industrial Revolution.
- This Land is Our Land - The USDA's "Ag in the Classroom" has students examine the difference between public and private land and appropriate uses for public lands.
"Building the System, 1911-1940" [Disc 1, Part II] and/or "Boom!"[Part III] - wildfires on public lands and the management of public lands
- "Forest Management" - This activity from the Sierra Club John Muir Education Committee and Sequoia Natural History Association allows students to consider opposing views on fire management, specific to the Giant Sequoia ecosystem.
"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?") - (grades 9-10) 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 U.S. Forest Service offers students the opportunity to learn more about fire management through an interactive game.
- Forest Fires This Discovery School lesson helps students understand the role wildfires play in our world.
"Boom!" [Disc 1, Part III] - Forest Service management policies after World War II - meeting the needs of the public
- If Trees Could Talk, Module 4: ("From Arbor Day to Earth Day") - (grades 9-10) 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") - (grades 9-10) The Forest History Society helps students examine what happens when the postwar urban development boom encroaches upon the forest.
- Smokey Bear Takes Algebra, a lesson created by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, introduces students to the many factors that play a role in creating a forest-fire danger rating index.
"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") - (grades 9-10) 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. ") - (grades 9-10) The Forest History Society has students study the history of private forests and the values these lands have to the United States.
- "Land Use Decisions" - (grades 7-12) The Idaho Forest Products Commission has students take a closer look at land use management.
"The Greatest Good? 1971-2005" [Disc 1, Part IV] or "Views of the Forest Service" [Disc 2] - both offer insight into public land management
- "Forest Dilemmas" - (Grades 6-12) The Idaho Forest Products Commission has students use problem solving skills to examine forest management and "Best Management Practices."
"Public Service Announcements" [Disc 2] - There are several public service announcements in foreign languages, which might be helpful to Foreign Language teachers to share with their students.