Rainforest Theme

Subject and Level: Science, Grades 1 & 3

Objective: "Should we save the Rainforest?" Leading into solving this problem students will create a 3 dimensional forest in our school hallway using their knowledge of plants and animals.

Rational: We are teaching this unit because we feel that the students as individuals need to know how they effect the global community. It is an Engaged Unit because the students are choosing who to defend, what the final project will be, and there will be collaboration between the grades and classes.

Goals: The students will ...

1) begin to become aware of how they affect the global community.
2) create a persuasive project defending one aspect of the rainforest.
3) use technology to gain information to defend their side.

Learning Activities: The students will...
1) build a rainforest using their knowledge of plant and animal life.
2) read "Great Kapok Tree" to 'hook' the kids in to the project.
3) see a bulldozer begin to destroy their Rainforest daily.
4) discuss the aspects of the Rainforest with each other.
5) begin to examine the repercussions of deforestation though the use of available resources.
6) examine different points of view though speakers and the Internet.
7) present in a team a persuasive project defending one aspect of the deforestation to a government committee (school staff members).

Assessment: The students will...
1) write daily journals
2) engage in group conferencing with a teacher
3) complete self assessments
4) participate in "constructive friends"

There will be a mid-unit assessment consisting of the following questions:
1) What is the focus of your project?
2) Why did you pick that aspect of the Rainforest?
3) What is it special to you and the Rainforest?

There will be an end of unit assessment consisting of the following questions:
1) Who or what are you defending? Why?
2) What is happening to them / it?
3) What is hurting them / it?
4) Why should people in Des Plaines care?
5) How could you help this situation?

The students will...
1) decide what makes up a good final project.
2) decide what would be in a good journal writing.
3) decide what they will produce in trier groups for a final project.

1) Story books
2) Encyclopedia (Book and Computer form)
3) Internet Web Pages
4) Magazines
5) Newspapers, current events
6) Computer Games
7) Parents or family members that have been to a Rainforest
8) Laser Disks
9) Movies


Student Work:
1) Work will be kept in special Rainforest binders
2) Group chart will be hung at student level for addability
3) Pre project work will be displayed in school foyer
4) As projects grow special areas win the room will be designated for each group

Room Arrangement:
1) Group desks
2) Writing areas with access to writing tools
3) Computer area
4) Table for art work, creation of project
5) Development of a freer atmosphere
6) Topic book nook

Location of Equipment:
1) Resource table in each room
2) Charts at student level
3) Rainforest binders in a bin
4) Paper materials in bins

Where students will work:
1) Grouped desks, round tables, long tables
2) In groups on computers
3) On the rug (with clip boards)

Children with special needs:
1) All children must learn to be a supportive partner
2) Resource attention to help / guide student
3) Supportive input from instructors

Evaluation of the Unit: During the unit we will ask ourselves:
1) Did the bulldozer / "Great Kapok Tree" book interest the children in our rainforest project?
2) How are the cross grade groups working?
3) What are they producing in their daily journaling?
4) Do they have enough time to do the project?
5) Are the children given enough access to technology?
6) Do we have enough grade appropriate resources?
7) Are the children able to put the information they collect into a usable / shareable format?
8) Are the Rubrics specific enough for each grade level?
9) Were the children able to successfully create a final presentation?
10) Did we have enough time for a rally?
11) Were the children able to discuss with peers / adults this findings / thoughts during the course of the unit?

LINKS:Amazon Interactive

How Rainy is the Rain Forest?

Tropical Rain Forest Coalition

Rain Forest Alliance

Rain Forest Action Network

These are the student's projects (in their words):

The bird group made fliers to help save the birds in the rain forest. We added some detailed facts like: what's happening to our rain forest friend and how this affects us.

How we made these is very simple: 1) Take a piece of construction paper, 2) We folded the paper in thirds, 3) We wrote and drew what was happening.

How we saved the fish of the rain forest. We made a book of the fish of the rain forest. We used information books to find more stuff on fish. We also used the computer to find more information about what's happening to the fish of the rain forest. We used a folder to make a cover for the book.

5 facts about the rain forest fish are: 1) Fish are disappearing because people are pushing more and more dirt into the water, 2) Piranhas travel in groups of 1,000 or more, 3) There are 2,000 kinds of piranhas, 4) Piranhas will leave you alone if you leave them alone, 5) Piranhas love blood.

We were the amphibian group. Our group had a game called Frogger. Along with the game show we had a booth display with a lot of toys frogs. We also made posters and hung them. Our group had 2 first graders and 3 third graders. Our biggest hit was the game show.

This is how you play the game Frogger: We used books to help us with the questions. Then we put the questions on cards. Next we tried out the questions on two kids. While some of us were trying the game, the rest of us were putting the frogs on the display. This is how to play: First, pick three people to be contestants. Second, ask the contestants questions. Third, whoever has the most points gets a sticker.

In the insect group there were 3 first graders and 1 third grader. We drew pictures of the insects we chose. When we put this stuff together, we made a newsletter.

In our group, our project took 2 pieces of red construction paper. We used the computers to get facts and type out information. We used facts like the postman butterfly is poisonous and the nymphalic butterfly and the postman butterfly pollinate flowers.

The mammal group made a big poster talking about the jaguar. The third graders and first graders worked together. Three of the facts we wrote down were: The jaguar weighs 400 - 500 pounds and is 100 inches tall. The jaguar lives in South America and Asia. It also eats meat.

The plant and flower group made a petition. There were 2 first graders and 3 third graders in the group. We typed the information on the computer. We also cut and glued pictures on our petition.

We wrote about the orchids, the rafflesia, and the vanilla pod. The vanilla pod gives us vanilla flavoring. The rafflesia is one of the biggest flowers in the rain forest. We walked around and asked people if they wanted to sign our petition. We got over 20 signatures on our petition. Mr. T. Cutter even signed it!

The reptile group made a huge road sign. We used a bulletin board and we put paper reptiles on it. Our group found out information about reptiles from books. Here is some information about reptiles. Reptiles are cold blooded. Some chameleons are two feet long. Snakes have fangs to push out venom. Some snakes shed their skin and eat it. We all did this by the help of each other.

Our group was trying to save the rain forest trees. In our group we had 4 first graders and 2 third graders. We decided to design a web site. Our group came up with some interesting facts. We put them on the web site. We couldn't make a real web site because we didn't have enough time, but we went to the computer lab to see what real web sites look like.

Some of the facts that we wrote on the web site were: trees give oxygen, trees give rubber, trees give us special medicines, trees are homes to many animals, and trees are part of the beauty of the rain forests.

Mr. T. Cutter was the Rain Forest Removal Inc. representative at our Rain Forest Rally. He told us that he needs the rain forest for his job, but we convinced him to slow down the removal!

We loved this project!

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