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This inquiry asks students to consider how a major natural resource in New Hampshire—its forests—is used and why it has been and continues to be protected. A significant amount of New Hampshire’s land cover is forest—about 81% today. It is the second most forested state in the country. People in New Hampshire have made use of forests to meet a variety of needs for thousands of years. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, excessive logging devastated thousands of acres of forest and impacted the navigability of rivers, leading to multiple efforts to purchase private lands in order to create national and state forests. Fire, fungal, and insect damage are other threats that impact the health of New Hampshire’s forests. 

On its surface, the compelling question “Are New Hampshire’s forests a natural resource we should protect?” seems to have one obvious answer. Through examination of sources in formative and summative tasks, students consider layers that inform an answer. How are New Hampshire’s forests used as a resource for people? How have people tried to protect New Hampshire’s forests and why? Do we still need to protect them for the same reasons as we did in the past? The investigation associated with Supporting Question 3 will be more meaningful if students have some background knowledge about specific historic events, as described below. Educators may want to spend more time preparing students with this information before asking them to investigate the featured sources. The formative and summative tasks in this inquiry develop students’ social studies, ELA, and science skills as they examine sources, organize information, and support claims in an effort to respond to the compelling question. 

Compelling Question: Are New Hampshire’s forests a natural resource we should protect?


Supporting Question

How are forests an important natural resource in New Hampshire?

Formative Task

How are forests an important natural resource in New Hampshire? Using evidence from the sources, define “natural resource” and identify how a forest is an important natural resource in New Hampshire.
Forest Cover in 1894 Concord Lumber Company Inside a Paper Mill Hikers In Henniker Ash Basket Land Use in New Hampshire

Supporting Question

What has threatened New Hampshire forests, past and present?

Formative Task

Using evidence from the sources and identify threats to the health of New Hampshire’s forests. Write a claim about the greatest threats to forests today, using evidence from the sources to support your argument.
Forest Fire Clearcutting near Albany

Supporting Question

How have people tried to protect New Hampshire’s forests?

Formative Task

Examine the sources and identify methods that have been used in the past to preserve New Hampshire’s forests. Write and support a claim about the method you think would be the most effective using evidence from the sources.
Buy a Tree Tree Purchase Certificate Prevent Forest Fires White Mountain Region

Staging the Question

Debate what is gained and lost as a landscape changes from a forest to a city.

Summative Performance Task


Are New Hampshire’s forests a natural resource we should protect? Create a presentation that teaches others about this topic and presents an argument through text, images, and audio.


How have the reasons and methods for forest protection changed over time? Research a current effort to protect New Hampshire’s forests and compare it to one of the methods used in the early 20th century.

Taking Informed Action


Identify a natural resource has been important to your local community in the past and/or present.


How is that natural resource used today? Is a local resource under threat?


Create a public service announcement to teach others about this natural resource and provide tips for protecting it. Share it through an online or local media outlet.