The students are responsible for creating informational postcards throughout their rainforest expedition. Upon their return from the expedition, the entire class will compare and contrast the different rainforest areas.
Begin by reading the book The Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry. This is a story of a young man in the Amazon rainforest who has been told to cut down the Kapok Tree. However, he grows tired and falls asleep. While the young man is sleeping at the base of the tree, he dreams about many animals who beg him not to cut down the tree. In the end, the man does not cut the tree down.
Before students begin their research, lead a discussion about biomes. You can use a KWL chart to stimulate discussion about the different biomes, and the rainforest biome in particular.
Once the students have a clear understanding of what a biome is and can define characteristics of the rainforest biome, let them know that they are going on an expedition to one of five rainforests around the world.
Divide the students into five equal teams. Each team will be responsible for one of the following rainforest regions:
Students should complete research about their rainforest region. Using information from their research, students should be able to answer:
Once the students have completed their research, they will create the postcards from their rainforest region. Each ImageBlender page will be a synopsis postcard of what the group “saw” that day. Each team member will complete at least one postcard.
Even though students are working individually on a postcard, they need to decide as a team what information will be covered, so that the entire group’s postcards are a summary of that rainforest region. Have the students use a storyboard to plan out their postcards and decide which team member will create each postcard.
As a set, the postcards should contain information about the following:
Each postcard should include text and a photograph or illustration depicting what the expedition saw that day. Students can find pictures of rainforest species at Pics4Learning or use the paint tools to create original artwork.
Students should save all of their ImageBlender postcard files in one folder. Then, when they are done with the postcards, have students click the Share button on the ImageBlender toolbar to create a web site of their postcards.
Have the Central American rainforest expedition and the Amazon rainforest expedition share their postcard web sites.
As a whole class, compare the Central American rainforest to the Amazon rainforest. Use a two circle Venn diagram to determine the similarities and differences between these rainforests. Next, have the Congo River Basin rainforest expedition, the Madagascar rainforest expedition, and the Southeast Asia rainforest expedition share their postcard web sites.
As a whole class, compare the three rainforests. Use the three circle Venn diagram to determine the similarities and differences between these rainforests.
After reading the Great Kapok Tree, ask students to respond to the literature. For example, how important was the Kapok tree and to whom?
When students are completing research about their region, assess their answers to the research questions to make sure they can tell you what plants and animals are found in this region as well as what makes this region unique from other rainforest regions around the world.
To get the students thinking about the environment, ask them to brainstorm other examples where our ecosystem is in danger. You will also be able to assess some of the students’ basic knowledge about the rainforest.
You will be able to assess student comprehension after the project as you use Venn diagrams to compare the various rainforests.
Cherry, Lynne. (2000) The Great Kapok Tree. Voyager Books. ISBN: 0152018182
Rainforest Education rainforesteducation.com
Rainforest Facts rain-tree.com/facts.htm
CONTENT STANDARD C
As a result of activities in grades K-4, all students should develop understanding of: The characteristics of organisms, Life cycles of organisms and environments
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
3. Knowledge Constructor
Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others. Students:
a. plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
b. evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
c. curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
6. Creative Communicator
Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals. Students:
a. choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
b. create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
d. publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
Ideas for engaging elementary students in science as they explore the curriculum through creative projects.
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