Lesson Plan Industry Sector
Building & Construction Trades

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Maria Bustos-Flores

Bill of materials (green lesson)

Part of Unit: Designing, planning and estimating (green)

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

Sustainable Material used in cabinetmaking.  Students will discover the cost difference between conventional wood and FSC-certified wood.


What type of Wood can you cut in half and it would keep on growing? Bamboo is an ancient plant widely recognized for its symbolism of a strong, healthy life. It is an eco-friendly building material, sustainable resource, (meaning it is self reliant), and benefits from cutting (giving it the ability to regenerate itself). Bamboo just keeps on giving of itself.

Lesson Time


No standards are associated, yet.

Objectives and Goals

Objectives:Calculate the financial and environmental costs and benefits of several types of building material.Compare the costs associated with traditional building materials and sustainable materials.Predict what happens to construction materials when something is demolished or destroyed.Discuss the health benefits of green buildingsList material that make up a house and find green alternatives that could be used Outcomes:Students should now be comfortable having a discussion about the pros and cons of green building. They should be able to give suggestions for greener alternative to traditional materials and site examples of not only the environmental benefits they provide, but the health ones as well.

Activities in this Lesson

  • Introduction Lecture

    Introduction:  This lesson explains alternative building supplies that are not only better for the environment but also healthier for the occupants of the building. Students will discover the cost difference between conventional wood and FSC-certified wood.


    What is Green Cabinetry?


    Green Cabinetry is dedicated to using environmentally friendly products, recycled and recovered wood fiber particleboard, a certified Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP), with a water-based, no-added urea-formaldehyde resin all material and construction techniques to build custom cabinets. 

    Doors and drawer fronts as well as all paneling can be created using a core material made from compressed wheatgrass. Like the box material, the wheatgrass doors are held together using a non-toxic water-based resin.  Doors could  then be covered with reconstituted wood veneer like Oak, Rosewood, Teak, Walnut, Wenge or Zebra, and finished to the clients specifications using a water-based, non-toxic stain or sealer.

    Green Cabinetry can include the environmental impact we have when using local manufactures and products limits shipping cost.


    Background Relevant Vocabulary:

    · Sustainable– able to be continued indefinitely with little or no impact on the future.

    · Energy efficiency– obtained when the least amount of energy is consumed to do the most

    amount of useful work; when energy is not wasted or released as useless heat.

    · VOC– Volatile Organic Compound – organic chemical compounds which have high vapor

    pressures under normal circumstances; capable of entering the gas phase in normal conditions;

    participate in atmospheric photochemical reactions.

    · Byproduct- a secondary or incidental product often generated as a consequence of an industrial

    or manufactured process.

    · Impermeable– the quality of being impenetrable to liquids.

    · Estuary– semi-enclosed coastal body of water with a free connection to the open sea; the wide

    part of a river where it nears the sea and fresh water mixes with salt water.

    · Consumer – one who uses goods and services.

    · Formaldehyde– an organic chemical compound with the formula H2CO; colorless odorless gas

    made by the oxidation of methanol.

    · Conventional – traditional or common; conforming with or meeting accepted

  • Bill of Material Demo / Modeling

    Bill of materials (BOM)is a list of the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, components, parts and the quantities of each needed to manufacture an end item or final product.  When you are required to estimate the time to manufacture a finished product you must take into account the bill of material of the finished product.

    Bills of materials for quoting and cost estimating can be broken down into 3 categories.  The first category is raw material. Raw materials are those bill of material items that are the building blocks to create a finished or final product.  This would include items such as wood, sheets of metal, coils, wire, plastic, rubber, etc.   These type off bills of materials are usually some sort of commodity, especially when you get into sheet metal, wood, etc.  

    The second category is hardware.   Hardware are those bill of material items which can be purchased and added to a finished product or it could be consumable which is used in the production of the finished product.   Examples would be nuts, bolts, screws, etc.   Examples of consumables would be paint and gas.    

    The third category of bills of material would be outside services.  Outside services would be purchased 3rd party processes like machining, painting, silk screening which are added to a finished product.

  • (To save paper, display the handouts and picture on an overhead or SMART Board and then email

    your students copies of the material!)

    1. Display the visual in Reproducible #1 – Railroad Tracks . Ask students to imagine that the tracks are no longer used and are going to be torn out and demolished. You can hand out Reproducible #2 – Railroad Tracks Discussion Questions and have the students answer questions individually, in small groups, or as a class. You may want to lead a class discussion without handing out the sheet. Try to guide the students towards answering that the wood and metal from the railroad tracks could be recycled or reused in another capacity. These discussion questions should be used to encourage brainstorming and to get students to begin thinking about alternative building options.

  • 1. Share Reproducible #3 - Sustainable Building Material Reading Handout with the students. Read aloud or have the students read independently and discuss the presented information as a class.

    2. Discuss the points risen in the handout: the health benefits of green building, the environmental conservation provided, what prevents most people from building sustainably, what could be done to encourage people to buy sustainable materials instead of conventional materials.

  • (You can also create an overhead transparency of the sheet in order to help facilitate



    1. Share Reproducible #4 - Calculating FSC Certified Wood Costs with the class.

    2. Go over directions and first example together.

    3. Have students complete sheet independently, then review answers

  • Hand out Reproducible #5 - Sustainable Materials Homework and go over directions.


    Send students home with assignment of choosing a sustainable material to research. Have them keep in mind the class discussion when answering homework questions. You may want to assign a material to each student, or have them research and choose their own.

    Consider having students present their materials to the class after completing the homework.


Assessment Types:

Extension: “Don’t stop here….”

Continue the learning by having students research your state’s incentives for going green. When schools rebuild or make improvements does your state offer any incentives? What about when homeowners remodel or build? What rebates are available to them? Share your findings with the class. Consider having your class make a presentation to the principal or district administration