Primary students are active explorers, and are naturally curious about their world. They learn best through direct discovery in hands-on experiences that engage the five senses. During the primary years, students develop the ability to approach the world logically, with an increasing capacity to use abstract reasoning.
Students in urban and suburban areas may never have seen a forest firsthand, and may have preconceived notions about forests based on stories or movies. Forest literacy activities at this level should aim to introduce students to trees and forests, focusing on:
• What is a forest?
• Who lives in forests?
• What can we do to help forests?
Giving students opportunities to be keen observers will provide them with a strong foundation for becoming both good scientists and critical thinkers. Simple investigations both inside and outside the classroom will help them learn to analyze results and apply their understanding to new situations. Collecting and categorizing natural objects, and other hands-on activities, will help acquaint them with the natural world in general – and with Oregon’s forests in particular.