MuseumLink Project Info
  Teacher Orientation    
Present Day Forests
Recent Forests
Ancient Forests
How Do We Know?
Human Inspiration
Tree Guide
Teacher Orientation
      The Museumlink Forest module’s emphasizes trees — tree identification, classification, and trees in different forest types. The introduction gives basic information about the definition and structure of a forest, and the classification and importance of trees.

Use the expanding menu in the upper left-hand corner of your screen to proceed through the module, or click on any of the links in the menu. There are no NEXT or BACK buttons on the Web pages, so learning to navigate the menu is important for your students. If links to more detailed information take you out of Forest, use the back button of your browser to return to your original page.

Reading Level
The text of Forest has been written at about the eighth grade level. Some scientific sections are more difficult in vocabulary and density. Technical terms are explained either in the glossary or in parentheses.

Scientific names for plants are part of the study of botany, so they are used here to identify specimens from the herbarium collections and photographs of trees. With scientific names, there is no confusion caused by regional differences in common names.

The module is divided chronologically into three sections:

· Illinois Forest Types presents QTVR video panoramas of seven types of forests that occur in Illinois. A guide to trees includes photographs, distribution maps, and close-ups of leaves for many of the species. This guide can be found with each forest type, and as a stand-alone resource.

· People in Illinois Forests present an overview of the impact of people on the forests and the uses people have made of the forest and its resources since Native Americans arrived, through European settlement, on into the twentieth century.

· Ancient Forests presents information from research by Museum staff and others about the forests of Illinois during and after the last glacial period.

Another section of the module follows the rise of the conservation movement in Illinois as interest grew in preserving our forests. Included are descriptions and links to Web sites of some of the natural areas of our state.

A How do We Know? section presents some of the ways that Museum professionals and other scientists study evidence of the past and reconstruct what the climate and the forests might have looked like. The graph based on Nelson Lake pollen samples is explained in detail because it is a document rich in information. The graph reading activity can be a good way to present this material. There is also an introduction to the botanical career of palynology, the study of pollen.

Forest in Art displays some of the fine art and decorative art objects in the collection of the Illinois State Museum, with descriptions of how the artists were inspired by the forest, or, in the case of domestic objects, how the nineteenth century settlers and a contemporary furniture artist use local woods to build and carve.

Helpful Resources
Definitions of the underlined glossary words popup in a convenient window when you click on the words with your mouse. The glossary as a whole is accessible for printing.

Resources and Activities includes Web and print resources for children and adults, a bibliography, and hands-on activities in science, art, and literature. The forest in literature outline is meant to be a source of ideas for an interdisciplinary forest unit.

The activities address specific Illinois State Board of Education Standards and Goals, which are provided in pdf and html formats. The standards for each activity are located near the end of each lesson plan.

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