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Ecology: Sloths, Toucans & Snakes - A Look at the Rainforest

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Objectives:

  • The students will be able to explain the characteristics of the rainforest biome.

  • The students will be able to describe the plants and animals of the rainforest biome.

  • The students will be able to describe the four layers of the rainforest.

  • The students will be able to locate rainforests on a map.

Questions that encompasses the objective:

  • Think about the rainforest. Why do you think it is called a rainforest?

  • What do you think the weather and climate is like in the rainforest?

Prepare the Learner: Activating Prior Knowledge. 

How will students prior knowledge be activated?

Warm up by asking students:

  • What do you know about the rainforest?

Common Core State Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.4

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.4

Materials and Free Resources to Download for this Lesson: 

Input:
What is the most important content in this lesson?
To reach this lesson’s objective, students need to understand:

  • The characteristics of the rainforest biome.

  • The plants and animals that live in the rainforest biome.

  • The four layers of the rainforest biome.

  • Where rainforests are located.

How will the learning of this content be facilitated?

  • The teacher will begin the class by reviewing the Earth’s biomes. The teacher should tell the students that today they are going to be learning about the rainforest biome.

  • The teacher should show the video ““9 Facts About the Amazon Rainforest” (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDP5owF66cU)”. The video is about 3 minutes long and provides some interesting facts about the rainforest. After the video, the teacher should review the content/ begin a discussion about the rainforest.

  • Next, the teacher will hand out the worksheet packet “The Rainforest Biome” If it is possible, project each page of “The Rainforest Biome” worksheet onto the board using a projector or put into a PowerPoint document and project. As the teacher explains, the students should fill in the blank spaces on their worksheet. The teacher should begin with the “Life in the Rainforest” worksheet.

**The student worksheet does not contain all of this information. Use this as a guide to help explain the rainforest biome more in depth to the students**

  • The rainforest biome is one of the oldest ecosystems.

  • Rainforests are divided into two categories: temperate rainforests and tropical rainforests.

  • Temperate rainforests are found in temperate regions along the coast. Tropical rainforests are found in equatorial areas (usually 30°N and 30°S latitude)

  • Temperate rainforests can be found in Chile, United Kingdom, Norway, Japan, New Zealand, and Southern Australia.

  • Tropical rainforests can be found in Central America, South America, West Africa, eastern Madagascar, Zaire Basin, Indo-Malaysia, western part of India, Assam, New Guinea, and Queensland, Australia.

  • As water evaporates from the trees, it becomes rain for other areas.

  • Tropical rainforests have very warm climate—most times there is no variety in temperature from day to night. Average temperature ranges from 70°F and 85°F.

  • Average rainfall ranges from 40-800 inches in the tropical rainforest.

  • Downpours (heavy rain) are common in the tropical rainforest. It can rain as much as 2 inches an hour.

  • Average rainfall ranges from 60-200 inches in the temperate rainforest. Some moisture (about 7-12 inches) comes from fog that is common to the area.

  • Temperatures are cooler in the temperate rainforest.

  • There are two distinct seasons in the temperate rainforest: a short, dry summer and a long wet winter.

  • The largest tropical rainforest in the world is the Amazon Rainforest in South America.

  • Rainforests used to cover 14% of the Earth’s surface, but human destruction has reduced that number to 6%.

  • Rainforests produce 40% of the Earth’s oxygen.

  • Many natural medicines are found in the rainforest, some of which can help people with cancer.

  • Tribes still live in the rainforest. However, they do not have contact with the outside world.

  • The next worksheet the teacher should review is the “Who Lives in the Rainforest?” worksheet.

**The student worksheet does not contain all of this information. Use this as a guide to help explain the animals and plants of the rainforest biome more in depth to the students**

  • The rainforest biome is home to a large variety of animal and plant species (almost half of all of Earth’s species live in the rainforest).

  • Many of the animals that live in the rainforest live in trees.

  • Many animals have adapted to live in the rainforest. For example, some monkeys have the ability to curl their tail to hang from trees. Some birds are brightly colored and very loud.

  • In the temperate rainforest, many animals live on the forest floor.

  • Tropical rainforest animals include: baboons, bats, bees, beetles, chimpanzee, centipedes, cobras, elephants, toucans, tortoises, worms, tigers, rhinos, sloths, snakes, iguanas, and lemurs.

  • Temperate rainforest animals include: puma, deer, elks, porcupines, mountain lions, raccoons, minks, black bears, bobcats, and owls.

  • Epiphyte, a plant lives on the surface of another plant, is common in the tropical rainforest.

  • There are about 10 -20 different species of trees in the temperate rainforest.

  • Leaves have adapted to allow for rainwater to drip off.

  • Tropical rainforests are divided into 4 zones. (The students will learn more about these when they complete the worksheet “The Layers of the Rainforest”)

  • There are over 2,500 different types of vines that grow in the tropical rainforest. Animals use these vines to climb on.

  • Barks of trees in the tropical rainforest are very thin since the climate is very wet and the risk of drying out is low.

  • The next worksheet that should be reviewed is “The Layers of the Rainforest” worksheet.

**The student worksheet does not contain all of this information. Use this as a guide to help explain the layers of the rainforest biome more in depth to the students**

  • The tropical rainforest is divided into four zones/ layers: emergent, canopy, understory, and forest floor. In each zone, you will find different animals and plants.

  • Emergent Layer:

    • Trees tower 200 feet, with trunks that are 16 feet around.

    • Trees have very broad leaves.

    • Receives a lot of sunlight.

    • Animals that live in this layer include: eagles, monkeys, bats, and butterflies.

  • Canopy Layer:

    • Located beneath the emergent layer.

    • The rainforest’s primary layer.

    • The leaves of the trees create an umbrella over the other layers.

    • Trees have oval-shaped, pointy leaves.

    • Food is abundant in this area; so many animals live their entire lives never leaving this canopy.

    • Animals that live in this layer include: snakes, toucans, tree frogs, monkeys, sloths, birds, and a variety of insects.

    • This is the loudest of the four layers.

  • Understory Layer:

    • Located beneath the canopy layer.

    • Made up of shorter trees, shrubs, and tree trunks.

    • Many predators live in this layer.

    • Doesn’t receive much sunlight, so leaves must grow large/ tall.

    • Plants that grow in this layer barely make 12 feet.

    • Animals that live in this layer include: red-eyed tree frogs, jaguars, leopards, owls, iguanas, and bats.

  • Forest Floor:

    • Receives very little sunlight and there aren’t many plants found here.

    • Things decay quickly in this layer—something that takes over a year to decay can disappear in as little as 6 weeks.

    • This layer is very quiet.

    • Animals that live in this layer include: deer, pigs, anteaters, insects, and snakes.

  • The last worksheet that the teacher should review is the “Rainforests of the World”.

**Refer to the teacher copy of the worksheet**

  • After the worksheet is completed, the students will participate in an activity called “Layers of the Rainforest”. Each student will be given a poster board and two sheets: “Layers of the Rainforest” sheet and “Plants and Animals of the Rainforest” sheet. The students will cut out all of the animals and layers signs. The students will glue the layer signs to the poster board. The students will then look at the pictures of the animals and decide which layer they belong in. They will then glue the animals to that layer. Allow the students to work for about 10-15 minutes. Reconvene and discuss when the students are finished.

  • The final assessment will be for the students to answer the question:

Think about what you learned in class today. Why is the rainforest called a ‘rainforest’? What rainforest is the largest in the world? Name one animal that calls the rainforest home and explain how it has adapted to better survive in the rainforest.

Information Sources:

http://www.srl.caltech.edu/personnel/krubal/rainforest/Edit560s6/www/whlayers.html

http://www.ducksters.com/science/ecosystems/rainforest_biome.php

http://www.skyenimals.com/browse_habitat.cgi?habitat=tropical_forest

http://temprf5tho.weebly.com/animal.html

http://temperaterainforestelynam.weebly.com/animals.html

http://www.ducksters.com/science/ecosystems/rainforest_biome.php

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/earth/rainforests.html

http://kids.nceas.ucsb.edu/biomes/rainforest.html

Time/Application
3-5 minutes
Guided Introduction

Review the class/ agenda with the students:

10 minutes

Introductory Activity:

15 Minutes

The Rainforest Biome Worksheet Packet

  • Give each student a “The Rainforest Biome” worksheet packet.

  • Project each page of the worksheet packet onto the board either through a projector or PowerPoint presentation.

  • Review the worksheets in this order: “Life in the Rainforest”; “Who Lives in the Rainforest?”; “Layers of the Rainforest”; “Rainforests of the World”

15 Minutes

Activity: “Layers of the Rainforest”

  • Give each student a given a poster board and two sheets: “Layers of the Rainforest” sheet and “Plants and Animals of the Rainforest” sheet.

  • The students will cut out all of the animals and layers signs.

  • The students will glue the layer signs to the poster board.

  • The students will then look at the pictures of the animals and decide which layer they belong in

  • At the end of 15 minutes, have the students return to their desks and discuss the activity.

Closure/Assessment
15 minutes

  • As an independent assessment, the students will answer the question:  

Think about what you learned in class today. Why is the rainforest called a ‘rainforest’? What rainforest is the largest in the world? Name one animal that calls the rainforest home and explain how it has adapted to better survive in the rainforest.

  • Appropriate answers will vary.

  • If there is additional time, discuss questions from the classifying objects activity.


Individualized Instruction/Scaffolding

English Language Learners will be supported in this lesson through data-based heterogeneous grouping, verbal and written repetition of new vocabulary words, and multiple representation of vocabulary words through printed images and video.

Ecosystems, Biomes, and Habitats PowerPoint and Activities
Classifying Animals PowerPoint & Activities