Project Learning Tree
Forest Facts


Project History

Table of Contents


Purpose, goals and objectives of the Montana Forests Forever CD-ROM.
Using the Instructional Guide and CD in the classroom.
Audience and teaching standards
Explanation of PLT program and reference to activities
Computer requirements

Content & Sample Activity Options

q Environment

	The environment section includes a discussion of why forests are differentand a virtual forest activity 
 llustrating different elevational forest zones and examples of wildlife species that use each zone. 

q Products

The Product section illustrates the many different wood products that forests provide – as well as other
 forest products like water, medicines and gathered forest products. 

q Balance

Discusses even and uneven-aged forest management, management objectives, constraints and limitations
and the management tools forest managers use to achieve forest management objectives.

q Recreation

Explores the variety of land ownership and the recreational opportunities available in Montana forests.

How to use the CD & Customize your own Lesson Plans







The Montana Forests Forever CD-ROM is designed and produced with one goal in mind – to educate. Using the CD-ROM to actively engage student learning will increase their understanding of forest ecology and the importance of employing scientific principles based on natural forest processes and sustainable forest management. The interactive format provides a fun and captivating presentation of forest facts, the forest products we all use and the balance necessary to sustain our forests.

Use in the Classroom

This Montana Forests Forever Instructional Guide is designed to assist the educator in using the CD-ROM. Presented in a format that is easy to use, the guide provides necessary information to facilitate learning about Montana’s forests. To assist in the learning experience, each of the four content areas includes grade level, subjects, concepts, and skills. A brief introduction to each topic is provided along with an activity to reinforce content and listing of associated activities from the Updated Project Learning Tree (PLT) Activity Guides.

The activities listed in each section of the guide were developed with the intent of using current teaching methods to give students quality learning experiences that reinforce concepts presented in the CD, which motivates them to learn more about Montana Forests. Each activity was developed to give students some background information and direction yet give them the freedom to 1) choose the topic and medium they are interested in, 2) use their creativity, 3) investigate and role play decision making processes for real issues, 4) generate their own solutions to real problems, and 5) use what they have learned to take action on a realistic project that may provide a public service to their community. We have tried to avoid having students just answer questions about what they learned. Rather, they will practice their critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making while applying their knowledge to realistic situations. We also believe strongly in giving students an opportunity to apply action skills and their new knowledge on a project they believe will help sustain Montana Forests Forever. This will give them an additional way to appreciate and understand Montana forest ecology and investigate how the forest is utilized by public and private concerns. It is important for all of us to understand and participate in the decision making process for how the students feel the forest should be utilized. Our extension activities provide students the ability to practice making the connections between how forest managers try to balance sustaining forest ecology, while providing products and recreation.

In Montana Forests Forever, it is our intention to provide you with a state of the art technology to engage your students in a new form of learning that will hopefully lend to inquiry and enhanced field experiences, role playing decision making, community service projects, school to work opportunities and a better understanding of Montana forests. Using Montana Forests Forever will provide a meaningful educational experience for you and your students.


The Montana Forests Forever CD-ROM is developed for use in grades 6, 7, and 8 classrooms, however, the content can also be used at both elementary and high school levels. It is designed primarily for single-user or small group settings, but can also be used with projection equipment for larger groups.

Teaching Standards

The Montana Forests Forever CD-ROM was also designed to meet a variety of teaching standards:

Montana Standards for Science:

Content standards 1, 3, & 5

1 - students design, conduct, evaluate and communicate scientific investigations

3 - students demonstrate knowledge of characteristics, structures, and function of living things, the process and diversity of life, and how living organisms interact with each other and their environment

5 - students understand how scientific knowledge and technological developments impact society

National Standards for Science:

Programs (science that is relevant to student's lives, organized around inquiry and connected with other school subjects)

Content (Life Science and Science in Personal and Social Perspectives)

Teaching (topics arising from community and national events, orchestrate discourse among students about scientific ideas 
- how they know what they know and how their knowledge connects to larger	ideas, and the world beyond the classroom,
respect for different ideas, attitudes, and values, and varied alternative assessments)
Science as Inquiry (thinking critically and logically about relationships  between evidence and explanations, constructing 
and analyzing alternative explanation and communicating scientific arguments)

Additional Montana Standards:

Reading content standards

1(benchmark 1,2,4), Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, and respond to what they read

2(6), Students apply a range of skills and strategies to read

4(2,7) Students select, read, and respond to print and nonprint material for a variety of purposes

Social Studies draft content standards

3(2,5), Students make informed decisions based on geographic understanding

5(1), Students make informed decisions based on understanding of economic principles of production distribution exchange and consumptionScience content standards

3(4,5) Students demonstrate knowledge of characteristics, structures, and function of living things, their process and diversity of life and how living organisms interact with each other and their environment

Technology content standards

1(1,2), Students demonstrate an understanding of the basic operation of technologies

5(1,3), Students develop the skills, knowledge, and abilities to apply a variety of technologies to conduct research, manage information, and solve problems

6(1) Students apply technological abilities and knowledge to construct new personal understanding

National Mathematics, Speaking and Listening, Writing, Library Media (draft), Art, Workplace Competencies, and Health Enhancement standards do not appear to be covered much in the CD and its teacher guide activities.

Project Learning Tree

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an internationally recognized environmental education curriculum that incorporates the current educational philosophy and methods that teachers feel is important. PLT provides hands-on activities using the forest as a window to awareness and knowledge of the world. Ultimately, PLT prepares students to make wise decisions about conservation practices and resource use by developing critical thinking skills. For more information, explore the Montana Forests Forever web page.

Required Computer Equipment & Installation Instructions

The minimum and recommended system requirements are listed on the back of the CD-ROM case for both IBM-compatible and Macintosh computers. Your computer must meet these requirements in order to operate the CD program. We recommend you completely uninstall all previous versions of Quick Time® software that are on your computer before installing Montana Forests Forever. Macintosh installation is easy! Delete earlier Quick Time versions, insert the CD and follow the prompts. PC’s are different!

To uninstall QuickTime successfully: Select the "My Computer" icon and then the "Control Panel" icon; select the "Add/Remove Programs" icon and select each QuickTime feature one at a time. Select "Uninstall Everything," or "Delete all", whichever prompt is given. Repeat with each version of QuickTime until there are no remaining QuickTime features. Reboot your computer.

To install Montana Forests Forever & QuickTime successfully on your PC: Insert the CD into your CD drive and select "Run" from the "Start" menu. Use the browse button to locate the CD-ROM drive and select "install.exe" and click "OK". Follow the "Next" prompts and select "Full Install" if you have 650-MB of hard drive space on your computer, if not, choose the "minimal install’ – which will run just fine. Click "Next". When the instructions ask if you would like to install QuickTime, select "Yes". The next prompt will ask if you have Windows 2000 (Professional or Millenium edition). If your operating system is Windows 2000, select "Yes." This will prompt the CD-ROM to install QuickTime 4 on your computer. If you have Windows 95, 98, or NT, select "no" to the Windows 2000 question. This will prompt the CD-ROM to install QuickTime 3 on your computer.

Classroom Use

Project it for classroom use using a digital projector or Television set equipped with an interface unit.

Computer Lab Use

Install the appropriate Quick Time software and use a CD in each work station – or completely install the entire CD onto the hard drive of each workstation. There is too much data to run the program successfully over your network to multiple workstations.

Take Home Use

Students can take home the CD for homework assignments.






In the environment section, students will see and hear about the variety of plants and wildlife that live in Montana's forests. They will participate in a virtual forest activity that shows the locations of the grasslands, south facing low and mid elevation forests, high elevation forests, upper high elevation whitebark pine forests, alpine areas and riparian forests, as well as forest streams. Within this virtual forest landscape, students can also click on each forest type and see real life close up views of the trees, plants, and wildlife that lives in that zone while learning facts about each.

Sample Activity Options

PLT Activity #6 (The Changing Forest: Forest Ecology Book) Story of Succession - Class room Activity or PLT Activity # 2 (The Changing Forest: Forest Ecology Book) Cast of 1,000's Forest Investigation - Outdoor Activity

Extension Activity

Find people who know about the history of a section of forest and have them tell you how it has changed over time or research a section of forest and find historical photos of how that forest changed over time. Write a story like the one in the Story of Succession that tells the succession story of this piece of land over the last 100 years. You can use the photos in the book referenced below or the photos from the book that we placed on the MFF web page under forest succession or the poster: 88 years of change in a Montana forest that is also on the MFF web page.

Alternate Activities

PLT # 3 (The Changing Forest: Forest Ecology Book) The Nature of Plants. PLT # 45 (Pre K-8 Activity Guide) The Web of Life - Montana Teaching Standards - Unifying Concepts & Processes Systems, Order, and Organization, Life Science Populations and Ecosystems. MSU Extension Forestry Forest Stewardship Program, or GLOBE Project Protocols.

Montana Quick Reference

Grades K - 8
Science, Math
Montana Forests vary with elevation, climate and aspect.The forest provides habitat for thousands of different creatures.Each inhabitant does its part in continuing the forest life cycle.
Observing, Organizing Information, Identifying Relationships, Patterns, Analyzing
QCC Correlation



Students will discover a number of products that come from Montana forests. This includes products made from harvested trees as well as gathered products like berries, mushrooms and decorative plants. The concept of other forest products, like clean water, are introduced, to expand the students’ thinking about all that forests provide for us. An interactive activity: I wood if I could illustrates some of the many products that come from our forests.



Sample Activity Options

PLT Activity # 82 (Pre K-8 Activity Guide) Resource Go-Round

In this activity, students will study the materials that make up a pencil, where they come from, and the life cycle of a pencil. A world map will be used to show where all the materials come from and how they are used to make a pencil. In addition to the pencil, students will be asked to explore other products in the same way, perhaps doing their research in the media center or in the classroom on the Internet. The recycling of used products into new products will also be explored and may be used as an introduction to the next section on "Balance".

Extension Activity

Have students pick one of the products they saw and found interesting and think would be available from the forest they told a story about in the environment section. Have them research this product and create a poster, brochure, skit, song, or power point presentation for that item. Have them present it to their parents, peers or the public to help inform others of what they learned. They should include in their project what plant or tree species the product comes from, why that species is used for that product, how the raw material is harvested and where the final product is manufactured. Students should address the challenges associated with both the extraction of raw materials from their forest and the manufacture of the finished product and how any problems might be addressed in their forest: e.g. preventing over harvesting of raw materials and ensuring regeneration of new trees & plants.

Alternate Activity

PLT #12 (Pre K-8 Activity Guide) Tree Treasures - Students discover how many different products come from trees as well as the part of the tree used. - Montana Teaching Standards B & F.

PLT #13, We All Need Trees is an excellent companion to PLT #12 Tree Treasures It has a student handout on wood and its products - Montana Teaching Standards B Physical & E Technology.

Montana Quick Reference

Grades 5 – 7
Science, Social Studies
Trees provide a large number of products people use every day. Trees are a renewable resource.Skills Classifying and Categorizing Evaluating
QCC Correlation
(Montana Standard B Physical Science Transfer of Energy, E Science & Technology Understanding about Science & Technology and F Science in Personal & Social perspectives Risks & Benefits


. Balance:

The challenge of balancing the needs of society with the capacity of Montana forest ecosystems is illustrated. Management objectives and constraints are illustrated and explored in the "Balance" section. The students will first have a chance to learn how tree sizes, forest structure, and wildlife habitat changes as they participate in an activity that takes them through the forest succession that occurs in uneven-aged and even-aged forest systems.

Students will also be exposed to 1) how other students use the forest and what they think of how our forests are and should be managed; 2) how forest managers use tools such as fire, grazing, and timber harvest and their knowledge of disturbance and succession to mimic natural processes while meeting management objectives; 3) the constraints resulting from a) natural conditions, b) laws and regulations, c) social, economic, and resource protection considerations; and 4) the unpredictable consequences of management actions.

Sample Activity OptionsPLT Activity # 50 (Pre K-8 Activity Guide) 400 Acre WoodExtension Activity

During the next 100 years how will the forest you described in the environment section change? What will it look like and contain and what products can you obtain from it at what times? How and what will you manage if you manage anything and when and why will you manage it? How will you manage the forest to have it look the way you want it to look? How will you manage the forest so it can sustain production of the product you chose to research in the Products section? What succession will take place due to your management?

Alternate Activities

PLT # 35 (Pre K-8 Activity Guide) Loving it Too Much, # 7 Words to Live By, # 3 Tough Choices (#3 & #7 Investigating the Forest: Forest Issues) - Montana Teaching Standards E & F

PLT #69 (Pre K-8 Activity Guide) Forest for the Trees. In this activity students participate in managing an imaginary forest. First, they are the trees themselves at different stages of growth. Then they are the managers of the forest making decisions about proper management and economics. (F)

Montana Quick Reference

Levels Grades 4 – 8
Subjects Science, Math, Social Studies
Concepts Conservation and management practices can enhance and extend the usefulness of the resources as well as the quality of the environment
Skills Identifying Main Idea, Analyzing, Solving Problems, Synthesizing & Creating
QCC Correlation (Montana - Unifying Concepts & Processes, E Science & Technology, F Science in Personal & Social Perspectives Risks & Benefits, & G History & Nature of Science as Human Endeavor



The recreation section illustrates the richness of recreational resources in Montana. The students can study the state from a number of different perspectives, checking for the availability of different activities. They will also be able to go to various web sites (via the link) and learn more about many recreation areas as well as how various groups are working to manage our recreation resources.



Sample Activity OptionsProject Learning Tree Activity #54 (Pre K-8 Activity Guide) I’d Like to Visit a Place Where

In this activity, student will explore the concept that recreation areas are essential elements of a community. By working on a project to improve a local park, they will also learn about the community’s system for managing open spaces.

Extension Activity

Have the students choose and do a single or a class project that will help at least one of the forests they wrote about in the environment and balance section. Use resource specialists to generate project ideas. Projects can include planting trees, restoring stream banks, reclaiming unused forest roads, piling slash for wildlife habitat and insect and disease reduction, educating others about what they learned, monitoring and or assessing the health of an area, etc.

Alternate Activities

Research the person for whom a recreation area was named e.g. Bob Marshall, Charles Russell or Pintler and make sure to note of his/her conservation ethic and perspective and any events or actions they were known for.

Tell the difference between the purpose or mission set for Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, State Parks, Industry, and private forest recreation areas.

Montana Quick Reference

Grades 5 – 8
Social Studies, Language Arts, Science, Art, Graphic Arts
Forests provide recreation as well as commercial products. Proper management allows everyone to enjoy Montana forests.
Analyzing, Data Gathering, Discussing, Interpreting, Researching
QCC Correlation
(Montana Standard F - Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Risks and Benefits)




How to use the cd and customize your own lesson plans


Pre-Programmed Breaks

The CD is pre-programmed to pause during the delivery of the various sections. You can continue by single-clicking your mouse on the NEXT button (or pinecone) at the bottom of the screen. You can use these pre-programmed breaks to customize your lesson for the day.


Main Menu Choice


You can preview the section you want to use and launch that section from the MAIN MENU screen.



Map of Disc Contents

You can also select the pre-programmed subsections you would like to view by clicking on the MAP (compass) icon at the bottom of the MAIN MENU screen. This will enable you to browse the MAP OF DISC CONTENTS and allow you to select the pre-programmed section you want.



Pause Button

Additionally, you can also use the PAUSE button at the bottom right of each movie screen to further customize each pre-programmed section for your individual needs.



Let’s take you on a test drive to see how all these features work - For example: If you want to focus today’s lesson on photosynthesis…


When you want to move on, simply click the PAUSE button again to re-start the video … or click on the NEXT button to skip back to the MAIN MENU screen and go wherever you want to go next!

After a little practice, you will become skilled at navigating your way through the CD and will soon be customizing all the various contents for your own needs.

If you get stuck or confused, or accidentally skip by a section you wanted to present, don’t worry! Just keep clicking on the NEXT button until you arrive back at the MAIN MENU screen and go from there. Following is a complete script, in "parentheses", for the CD along with the matching screen for each section. The text in bold are teacher notes to help you use the CD most effectively.