The Lorax Extra Credit

Real World Connection


Interpreting Events and Meaning in The LORAX

To help you with your tasks at hand, consider this.  The LORAX is a fictional story about a man who abused the environment and about what he learned. The story begins in the most run-down part of a dull, gray town. A small boy asks the Once-ler to share the secret of the Lorax and how he was "taken away." Thus, the story is told as a "flashback" as the Once-ler talks about the Lorax and past events.  Complete the information below in order to better help you complete your tasks and also check out some of the "resources" included at the bottom of the page.

The characters of the story include:

  • the Once-ler, a businessman
  • the Lorax, a leader of the plants and animals in the natural world.

Refer to both the text and pictures in The LORAX as you respond to the following questions. Your teacher might ask you to work in groups and share some or all of your responses with the class.

The Once-ler's Story: The Beginning

1. The Once-ler moved across the land in his wagon. He came upon a new region with an important natural resource. (A natural resource is a plant, animal, or mineral that can be used by people.) What was this natural resource the Once-ler found?

The Natural Resource?

Name an important natural resource in your region.

2. Humans often appreciate the beauty of the natural world. Experiences such as finding sea shells on a beach or seeing a rare bird often cause strong feelings. Did the Once-ler have feelings about the region and natural resource that he found?

Setting Up Shop and Doing Business

3. The Once-ler used the land's natural resource to start a business which made and sold a product. What was the product? How was it used by buyers?

The Once-ler's Product?

The Product's Uses?

4. The Lorax appeared at this point and asked the Once-ler some angry questions. What did the Lorax want to know of the Once-ler? How did the Once-ler answer?

What did the Lorax ask?

How did the Once-ler answer?

5. The Once-ler, like other humans in business, organized a system to manufacture and distribute his product. Listed below are several parts of a manufacturing process. Describe if and how each of the following was used in the story. Remember, you may refer to both the text and the pictures.

a. raw materials? __________________________________________

b. product design? ________________________________________

c. labor (workers)? _______________________________________

d. assembly line? _________________________________________

e. energy? ______________________________________________

f. shipping, transportation? __________________________________

g. communication? ________________________________________

h. profits/ losses? ________________________________________

Using Technology

6. Businessmen, like the Once-ler, sometimes try to make more money by increasing the number of products they can sell. Often new machines and other systems are invented to do this. Other people use machines to work faster, more easily, and more accurately. For example, students, engineers, and others use calculators. Robots are sometimes used to weld sections of cars. Sometimes machines are used to do work humans cannot do. X-ray machines, for example, allow doctors to "see" inside the human body. All these machines are examples of "technology". Often the word "technology" means complicated sets of machines, like those found working together in an automobile plant assembly line. Sometimes "technology" refers to a simple machine like a pencil.

Name an example of technology YOU use at home. ________________________

Name an example of technology YOU use at school. _______________________

Name an example of technology that YOUR parent might use at work. _________

7. Now back to the story. What technology did the Once-ler invent to increase the production of thneeds?_______________________________________________


8. What are several other examples of technology presented in the story? ____________________________________________________


Environmental Effects

9. The use of technology requires the use of natural resources. The use of natural resources often has an effect on the environment. How did the production of thneeds affect a key biotic (i.e., living) natural resource, truffula trees? ____________________________________________________

10. Threatened and endangered species are those plant and animal populations facing extinction. Often, this is a result of human activity. Can you name several threatened or endangered species and describe why they face this condition?



11. Certain animals depended on truffula trees. Name the animals. Explain why these animals needed truffula trees.

Animals? ___________________________________________

The Need for Trees? __________________________________

12. Interdependence is an important characteristic of the environment. Living things depend on certain abiotic (non-living) and biotic (living) factors. can you think of a real example in which man's activities have altered the interdependence in natural systems?


13. Often, technological production creates "byproducts." For example, a byproduct of sawing wood is sawdust. Sometimes the byproducts of technology are unwanted or dangerous (for example, poisonous chemicals) and are pollutants in the environment. Sometimes byproducts are useful. (For example, wood chips can be used to make particle board.) Name two byproducts that resulted from making thneeds.

Byproduct - 1? ________________________________________

Byproduct - 2? _______________________________________

14. Were the byproducts that resulted from the making of thneeds harmful or helpful to the environment? Check the line beside the answer of your choice.

Byproduct 1: Helpful ________ Harmful ________ I can't decide. _________

Byproduct 2: Helpful ________ Harmful ________ I can't decide. _________

15. The fish and swans were affected by the byproducts of making thneeds. Explain how the byproducts and making thneeds affected these animals.

Environmental Activism and Development Issues:


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    Description: If you were inspired by The Lorax, check these books out.

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