Lessons for high school students

photo collage of high school learning outside

High school students can apply scientific processes, higher- order thinking skills, investigate topics in depth, and conduct service-learning action projects.

Click on the tabs below for student handouts and other resources. Some materials are available free to download or by attending a PLT workshop

Forestry high school class scope and sequence (from the University of Wisconsin)

Focus on Forests

Contains 14 lessons to expand student understanding of and appreciation for the forested lands throughout North America. The activities provide an opportunity for hands-on study of forest resources while addressing concepts in biology, civics, ecology, economics, forest management, and other subjects.

Focus on Forests

Introductory video titled Rooted in the Future about forest ecology in Minnesota from Dovetail partners and the University of Minnesota Cloquet Forestry Center

Subjects: Life Science, Social Studies

To get the materials, contact [email protected] to set up a training.

Focus on Risk

This activity guide helps students explore aspects of environmental and human health risks that affect their everyday lives. Hands-on activities allow students to learn about risk assessment, risk communication, risk perception, and risk management.

Focus on Risk

Subjects: Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies

  1. What is Risk?
  2. Things Aren't Always What They Seem
  3. Chances Are…Understanding Probability and Risk
  4. Risk Assessment: Tools of the Trade
  5. Communicating Risk
  6. Weighing the Options: A Look at Tradeoffs
  7. Decision-Making: Ecological Risk, Wildfires, and Natural Disasters
  8. Taking Action: Reducing Risk in Your School or Community

To get the materials, contact [email protected] to set up a training.

Municipal Solid Waste

This activity guide introduces waste management issues and options using hands-on experiences, strategies, and tools to make informed decisions and choices on waste management issues.

Municipal Solid Waste

Subjects: Social Studies, Science

  1. The Waste Stream
  2. Source Reduction
  3. Recycling and Economics
  4. Composting
  5. Waste-to-Energy
  6. Landfills
  7. Where Does Your Garbage Go?
  8. Take Action: Success Stories and Personal Choices

To get the materials, contact [email protected] to set up a training.

Places We Live

Focusing on place-based education, this module helps young citizens create a bond with their own community and explore community environmental decisions.

Places We Live

Places We Live Correlations to Next Generation Science Standards

Optional: Use these aerial photos of three Minnesota places to accompany activity three.

Elk River








Minnesota River




To get the materials, contact [email protected] to set up a training.

Available for download or purchase


Three in-depth activities give students to examine broader concepts and larger connections—biological, political, cultural, ethical, and economic. Students learn how biodiversity affects decisions about growth, development, energy use, water quality, and health.

Biodiversity (E-Book)- $9.95
Subject: Life Science, Physical Science

  1. Global Invaders
  2. Protected Areas: Issues an Analysis
  3. Potatoes, Pesticides, and Biodiversity

Optional resources:


Our Biotechnology Series is designed for high school and community college educators in the fields of Biology, Environmental Science, Social Studies, and Agriculture. A special effort has been made to construct activities that support instruction in AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, and AP Human Geography. This activity guide was created as a supplement to the "Focus on Risk" curriculum.

Biotechnology (E-Book) $9.95 | (Printed Guide) $19.95
Subjects: Physical Science
Introduction to Biotechnology

  • Biotechnology and You
  • Bioremediation
  • Biotechnology and Human Health
  • Forest Biotechnology
Forests of the World

Created with the World Forestry Center, this activity guide helps students understand and appreciated the diversity of world forest environments, with an emphasis on human interaction with those environments.

Forests of the World (E-Book)- $9.95

  • Making the Global Connection
  • What Is a Forest?
  • Mapping the World's Forests
  • Analyzing Patterns of Forest Change
  • Understanding the Effects of Forest Uses
  • Seeking Sustainability: A Global Response
  • Exploring the World Marketplace
  • Making Consumer Choices
  • Researching Forests Around the World
Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers

Contains 4 hands-on instructional activities that help youth research different forest sector careers to learn what it takes to perform these jobs, and practice managing and monitoring forest resources. Designed to be flexible, the activities can be used as individual, stand-alone lessons, or all together as a cohesive unit of instruction.

Green Jobs Youth Personality Quiz - Take a quick, simple, interactive quiz designed for youth ages 12-25. Then get recommendations for a rewarding green career path that suits your personality.

Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers (E-Book) $15.00
Subject: Social Studies

  • Who Works in This Forest?
  • If You Were the Boss
  • Monitoring Forest Health
  • Seeking Sustainability
  • Self- assessment of STEM skills

view of St. Paul between two treesGreenSchools offers five hands-on, student-driven, service-learning investigations. Each investigation guides students through collecting and analyzing on-site data, developing  recommendations for improving their school, and presenting recommendations to school leadership. Grants are available to help students transform their recommendations into reality. Your school can save money while improving the school's:

  • Energy - Students investigate how much energy their school uses, the main sources of that energy, and ways to implement energy-saving strategies.
  • Environmental Quality - Students investigate areas where improvements can be made in indoor air quality, transportation, chemical use, and more.
  • School Site - Students investigate natural habitats, wildlife, trees, grounds maintenance practices, and ways to make improvements to their school site.
  • Waste & Recycling - Students investigate how much waste their school generates and where it goes, as well as recycling and composting efforts.
  • Water - Students investigate the source, cost, and quality of their school's water supply, and ways to enhance current water conservation practices

All GreenSchools Investigations (free download)

Green Schools Investigations (Printer Guide) $34.95

Online course (optional), 6 CEUs, $24.99 or $49.99

SE Forests and Climate Change

Contains 14 in-depth activities on how climate change affects forests and people. Although developed for educators in the southeastern U.S., most activities can be done anywhere in the United States. Students learn how forests sequester carbon, strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and adapting to change. Includes many online tools, resources, and videos.

SE Forests and Climate Change

Includes access to full book, all student pages, and videos. You will be required to create a username and password, just to track who is accessing the book

Subjects: Earth Science, Life Science

Supplemental Resources

Teaching With iTree

Contains 3 hands-on activities on tree identification and measurement. Students then use the free iTree tool (developed by the U.S. Forest Service), students estimate values of trees and their role in mitigating greenhouse gases, sequestering carbon, improving air quality, intercepting stormwater, and lowering a building's energy use. Also available in Spanish, French, and Mandarin.

Free download
Subjects: Math, Science, Social Studies

  • Tree Benefits and Identification
  • Tree Value
  • Land Manager Role Play

Supplemental materials:

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