Lesson 6B: How Forests Protect Water

Lesson 6B: How Forests Protect Water                      Grade level: 7-12                              Time Length:  2-3 class periods
Cross Curricular/Cross Lessons: Lesson 1A: The Gilded Age; 6A: Sustaining Forests ; 6C: Managing the Forests; 6G: What Might Have Been
PDE Academic Standards:
4.2.7.A;  4.2.8.A; 4.2.10.A; 4.2.12.A:



Students will discover the path that water takes in a watershed by researching and building their own model

–Students will understand the impacts of trees and forests on a healthy watershed through research


Seeking the Greatest Good
Gifford Pinchot’s Primer of Forestry Vol II: http://archive.org/stream/aprimerforestry06pincgoog#page/n111/mode/1up


Anticipatory Set:  (2min)      “Moment of Zen”       Discuss the quote as it relates to both students and the topic.
            “They say I’m old fashioned, and live in the past, but I think progress progresses too fast! They say Im a fool to        contest things like these, but I’m going to continue to speak for the trees!”                     -Dr. Seuss  The Lorax
Watch Chapter VI of Seeking the Greatest Good
Two options: show students an image of a watershed and explain how water flows through it, or have students build a model watershed (http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/watersheds/map/?path=english/learning-resources/making-a-watershed-model) so they can see how water flows through it.
–Find your local watershed: http://pacd.org/education/pa-watersheds/

–Have students read the section titled “Fallen Rain” from pages 67 – 78 in Gifford Pinchot’s Primer of Forestry Vol II: http://archive.org/stream/aprimerforestry06pincgoog#page/n111/mode/1up
–Have students work together in teams of 4-5.  Each group will draw (on a white board or a large piece of paper) a picture showing a tree on a hill with a stream below.  Students will draw the multiple pathways rain falling on the tree can take, based on the Gifford Pinchot reading.  For example, a drop of rain may fall into the canopy, drip down the bole of the tree, into the soil, and be absorbed by the tree roots.  What other pathways are possible?
–Hold a class discussion:

-Discuss the various pathways a drop of rain can take when falling into a tree canopy.

-What would happen to the water if the hillside was cleared of trees?

-How do trees reduce the amount of water flowing down the hillside?

-How does the forested hillside impact the flow of water in nearby streams?  Immediately after a flood? Several                                 weeks after a flood?

-How does a forested hillside impact the transportation of soil into nearby streams?

-What do you think happens to rain that falls on pavement?

-How does the “Common Waters” program, described in Breaking New Ground, help protect water quality of                                    Delaware River?

*Extension: Revisit Lesson 1A: The Gilded Age and reexamine the photos from Williamport.  Discuss the economical and environmental consequences of the town due to the booming lumber industry at the turn of the century.


Students should be able to answer the Key Question:
How do forests protect watersheds and why is it important to protect watersheds?

Students will be evaluated on the quality of their models and discussion

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