Chestnuts in the Classroom: An American Icon

Visión general

In the 20th century, the American Chestnut was the dominant tree in the Appalachian forests of the eastern US, stretching from Mississippi to Maine. These enormous trees were nicknamed the Redwoods of the east. That changed drastically starting in the early 1900s with the appearance of a disease called chestnut blight which rapidly spread throughout the entire range. Learn about this iconic American tree and modern science-driven efforts to re-establish American Chestnut forests in the US.

20 – 90 minutes with modular lesson choices

Opciones de lecciones modulares que facilitan una actividad en clase tan breve como 20 minutos, hasta varios periodos lectivos o deberes.


Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science, Biology, AP Biology, Forestry, Ecology, Conservation Biology, Environmental Studies, Molecular Biology, History, Social Studies


Mapas impresos en papel

Archivos de mapas digitales

Mapa de media tierra en línea

Chestnuts in the Classroom: An American Icon

Objetivos de aprendizaje

  • Desarrollar la capacidad de comprender e interpretar las opiniones de los expertos
  • Using critical thinking, they consider genetically modified organisms from scientific and societal perspectives
  • Appreciate the complex structure of forest habitats to support biodiversity and gain appreciation of the culture and history of people’s perspectives on species and nature

Condiciones generales

  • Amenazas de enfermedades y ecología
  • Extinción
  • Patógenos de las plantas
  • Estrategias de recuperación de la conservación
  • Biotecnología
  • Organismos modificados genéticamente (OMG)
  • Estructura forestal
  • Restauración autóctona
  • Gama de especies
  • Hábitat

Consejos para instructores

Consider assigning students to watch videos, take notes, and develop a list of questions prior to doing the activity in the lesson guide. Reading assignments may include: 

The American Chestnut is a great topic for engaging students in the connection between people, communities, culture, history, and nature.

The lesson resources prompt critical discussion of genetic engineering, its potential risks and benefits, particularly in conservation and ecological restoration.

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