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Elementary-Teacher-Resources: Rainforest Unit Follow-Up and Video
June 27, 2011

Rainforest Unit Follow-Up

Our rain forest project was a smashing success!

Here's a video my kids made about the rain forest project

Thanks to a grant from we were able to learn all about the rain forest and then create each component to hang on our wall.

All in all we created…

Kapok tree, Understory trees, Flowers, Ants, Spiders, Bats, Snakes, Monkeys, Anteaters, Sloths, Tarantulas, Frogs, Butterflies, Ladybugs, Owls… and I’m sure I’m forgetting other things.

Basically, what we did was read a book about each creature and then make it for our rain forest.

Some of the projects were printables I found on the internet, but most were whatever the kids decided they should do.

I liked the "homemade" feel of it all!

It was a great way to end the year because the teaching was going on continually while I still could pack up boxes. (I’m moving classrooms and had to sort through a lot of junk!)

We actually had the project go all the way through the last full day of school!

An outline of the project:

  • Find an open space in your classroom. Read "The Great Kapok Tree" and build a tree out of whatever paper you can find.

  • Discuss the 4 layers of the rain forest and what lives in each layer. Emergent, Canopy, Understory, Forest Floor. Label these on your wall.

  • Begin with plants. Discuss what grows in each layer and have the kids make it. I used my scrap box for most of this.

  • Now, animals! Pick one, read about it, make it, hang it up. Repeat over and over. You'll be amazed at what your kids will learn and how cool the rain forest will start to look.

  • Once you're done with the building - have a bulldozer (I just drew one on some paper) come and destroy a little bit! Eeeeeeek! Scary! I showed a lot of deforestation videos at this time to have the kids realize that this is real life.

  • Once the kids are good and fired up have them write letters, make posters, whatever they are inspired to do to save the rain forest.

  • Create a "response" somehow. You can have a letter like I did or have a hubby make a video saying that they will stop the work - let the kids know that they CAN make a difference.

The completed project from "The Great Kapok Tree" to the bulldozer being sent to the garage took 15 days. We spent about 60 to 90 minutes each day.

Some of the books I used were:

During this time we were also home to several creepy, crawly critters.

We had butterflies, and ladybugs, mealworms and harvester ants.

But the most exciting insect was the praying mantis. I had never had a praying mantis in my room before and I cannot believe how interesting they are.

We were able to watch the egg case hatch and hundreds of nymphs squirm out! We actually had so many that several of my students took some home!

If you’ve never tried having a praying mantis in your classroom – I’d highly recommend it. It was amazing!

If you have great tips or tricks for teaching the rain forest, please stop by my rain forest page and share them with us. The more we share – the easier it is to help our kids learn!

Happy 4th of July

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Check out my podcasts on my podcast blog. They are fun and helpful!

I hope that you have enjoyed this newsletter. Please feel free to email it to friends and family who are teachers or home-school moms!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

See you next month!

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