Lesson Plans

Welcome to The Old-Growth Experience (Introduction)
During the introduction, students are familiarized with the facilities at HJ Andrews, the ground rules for the day, and the field trip schedule.  Students are divided into groups and participate in a pre-field trip drawing depicting what they think some of the components of an old-growth forest are.  Facilitators use this time to get to know their students and get them excited for the day ahead.  This time is also used for facilitators to talk with chaperones, teachers, and community partners to make sure the field trip is ready to begin.  

The Suspended Sit Spot

This lesson introduces students to the differences in plant species, light diffusion, species habitats, etc. that can be observed while climbing through the different canopy layers of a tree in an old-growth forest. It also encourages descriptive writing as a reflective and contemplative tool to successfully communicate the significance and importance of the tree climbing experience.

Home is Where the Forest Is
In this lesson students explore the basic components of habitats, the structural characteristics of old-growth forests, the interconnections among organisms that inhabit old-growth forests, and the threats that old-growth forests face. Students participate in guided observation & discussion, create a sculpture that models old-growth forests, and reflect on how organisms relate to their habitats in a writing activity.


From Seed to Soil
This station introduces students to the life cycle of a tree, with emphasis on decomposition. students will learn about what trees need for growth, as well as the processes which cause trees to die by participating in an interactive game. They will explore a fallen log in order to discover different decomposes. Student will also be introduced to using dichotomous keys to identify 6 tree species native to the Pacific Northwest.

Frolic in the Forest
This lesson encourages students to explore the interaction between humans and old-growth forests by engaging students' sensory awareness in their surroundings. This includes creating an "ecosystem orchestra" of the sounds of the forest, exploring the trails on a Native American-based hunt, and writing a poem that reflects on the interconnections between humans and the forest ecosystem.

Sowing Seeds (Conclusion)
At the end of the day, students return to the pavilion to complete field trip evaluations.  Students also  draw the components of an old-growth forest again to contrast their learning gains with the drawing they did before the field trip.    Afterward, the entire field trip assembles in a large circle and each student shares one thing that they learned throughout the day.