Environmental Education in the Schools (Peace Corps, 1993)
 Activities, activities and more activities

### Keep on truckin'

 OBJECTIVE: Trace forest products from the forest to the consumer and back again to the forest. GRADES: Intermediate, advanced SUBJECTS: Science, social studies, math, language arts MATERIALS: Sample products (optional)

Ask each student to bring to class three items that are products of the forest ecosystem. These need not be wood products; they may be buckskin gloves from deer or wool clothes from sheep that lived or grazed in the forest.

Ask each student to choose one of the items to research, identifying all of the steps necessary to produce the finished product from the raw material- Also ask the students to identify all of the steps necessary to recycle the finished product back to the forest. Ask the students to draw and label the points in the product's cycle-of-life on a large sheet of paper or on a chalkboard. For example:

When your students have completed their cycle diagrams, discuss:

* How many different times was the item transported? By truck, rail, car, boat, barge, or other means?

* How dependent are consumers of forest products on the energy required to transport the processed goods?

* Is it a simple or complex job to recycle forest products back into the forest? Why?

* Do the items each of you brought often get reused by a second person? Do these items often get recycled back to the forest? Do you think they should be returned? Why?

* What might you do to increase the chances of these items being reused or recycled? (Perhaps give them to a service agency such as Goodwill Industries or the Salvation Army.)

VARIATION

The United States consumes approximately 24 percent of its energy transporting products and people from one place to another. These products and people may be moved by any one of several carriers, each of which consumes a different amount of energy. Ask your students to use the information supplied in the tables to develop two resource cycles, one which expends the least amount of energy and one which uses the most. Through research and class discussion, compare these two cycles with reality.

* Which cycle most nearly corresponds to what happens in real life? is it the most energy-efficient cycle possible?

* How much energy (in BTUs or calories) could be conserved by changing to more efficient modes of transportation? Once this has been determined, students might develop and submit energy conservation suggestions to a local company that deals in the product "cycled."

* What could the students do to make the cycle more energy efficient?

Suggest that they try some of their ideas. Follow in a few weeks with additional discussion in order for the students to consider and share their results.

TABLE I ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF PASSENGER TRANSPORT
(Source: E. Hirst, Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

 BTU(1) CONSUMED/PASSENGER MILE ITEM URBAN BETWEEN CITIES Bicycle 200 -- Walking 300 -- Buses 3,700 1,600 Railroads 1,900 Automobiles 8,100 3,400 Airplanes 8,400

(1)1 BTU (British Thermal Unit) is equal to about 252 calories, which is equivalent to drinking about 1/2 of a malted milk.

TABLE II ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF FREIGHT TRANSPORT
(Source: E. Hirst, Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

 ITEM BTU CONSUMED/TON/MILE Pipeline 450 Railroad 670 Waterway (ship or barge) 680 Truck 3,800 Airplane 42,000