A Day Without Forest Products


To heighten students’ awareness of the importance of trees to their everyday lives; to develop observation, creative thinking and creative writing skills.


  • Forest products that you may have around your home or classroom such as: glue, cellophane tape, toothpaste, pencil, newspaper, chewing gum, dishwashing detergent, artificial vanilla flavoring, hair spray, crayons, lotion, paint, cinnamon, cough syrup, wooden handled hammer, aspirin, photographic film, citrus-flavored soft drink, baby food, instant hot chocolate, maple syrup, cork, RIT dye, muffin mix, nail polish

  • Product information cards


  • Hold up one product at a time and have your students vote as to whether or not they think it comes from a tree. Be sure they understand that you are not talking about the packaging of the product but the product itself or some component of the product. Put the ones that they think come from a tree in one pile and the ones that they don’t think come from a tree in another.

  • After you have gone through all the products, hand out the product information cards that describe how the products are made from trees. Hold up the products one at a time and have the students explain their vote as to whether it is a tree product. Then ask the student with the corresponding card to read it out loud to the rest of the class. Discuss what part of the tree the product comes from.

  • Have the students think of products similar to the ones you’ve shown them that also might come from trees. For example, adhesives other than glue, cellophane tape and hair spray that come from trees include adhesive bandages and masking tape. Examples of solid wood products other than a hammer and pencils include furniture, picture frames, hardwood floors, lumber to build houses, firewood, pencils and toothpicks.

  • Next instruct your students to write a story about what it would be like to go through a day without forest products. Remind them that they would not have a house to live in or a bed to sleep in. Their car wouldn’t have a steering wheel, so they couldn’t drive anywhere. They wouldn’t have toothpaste, a toothbrush, shampoo, soap or toilet paper. They wouldn’t have a chair to sit in, aspirin for a headache, orange juice for breakfast. Encourage your students to be creative. Some of them might like to think about how sports would be different without wooden baseball bats or football helmets. Students who are interested in music may want to write about all the musical instruments that would not exist -- pianos, violins, guitars, woodwinds. And the artists in the group may want to think about what life would be like without paint or paper on which to draw.