UNIT TOPIC: South America Tropical Rainforest
LESSON TOPIC: Rainforests
AGE/GRADE: 10-11 / Fifth Grade
TIME: This lesson will last 2 days, each day being 60 minutes
What is the South America Tropical Rainforest?
LESSON ESSENTIAL QUESTION:
What are rainforests?
RATIONALE AND CONTEXT:
I believe this topic is important for children to learn about because, as I said, learning about different parts of the world in general is something everyone should do. It is important to know what is out there and the different cultures people live in around the world. My unit topic is the South America Tropical Rainforest, so this lesson about Rainforests fits in by just explaining rainforest in general. It is important for children to have a general understanding about this type of environment before we go more in-depth about it in a specific area of the world.
TEACHER CONTENT KNOWLEDGE:
Rainforests play a huge role in the environment and the way different species interact around each other. There are four layers of the rainforest … the Forest Floor, the Understory, the Emergent Layer, and the Canopy Layer. In each of these layers, there lives all kinds of different animal and plant species that feed off of each other to survive and create the circle of life.
Common Core/Vermont Standard GE(s)/National Arts Standards:
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade
5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
- I would like my students to participate in each activity
- I would like my students to respect others’ opinions and listen respectively.
- I would like my students to collaborate and work together in pairs or groups to help each other with their work.
- What is a Rainforest?
- Where are rainforests around the world?
- Where are rainforests in South America?
- What are the layers of the rainforest?
- How does each layer impact one another?
- Forest Floor
One strategy for my students to learn the materials is to have them fill out worksheets with a partner about the rainforest. Another strategy is to have each student create the Shoe Box Layer of the rainforest. After learning about each layer, the students will perform what they learned by creating a large art project, writing about it, and presenting it to the class.
I will evaluate my students using a checklist on the Shoe Box project to make sure they included a certain amount of things from their chosen layer. Then I will use a rubric to grade the writing portion of the Shoe Box project. To evaluate the worksheets, I will leave notes on the side if a question is wrong or if they could use some feedback on writing.
- Did the students listen to others?
- Did the students cooperate together in groups or pairs?
- Were the students respectful to other’s opinions or thoughts?
- Did the students participate in the activities presented?
Reflection to Students:
I will provide specific feedback to students by using a checklist, a rubric, and notes. After filling these out, I will hand them back to the student to they can check their work and go back to fix it at a later date.
Has anyone ever visited a rainforest before? What can you all tell me about rainforests? What do you already know? What you want to find out? (We will start with a KWL chart to introduce the topic).
Lesson two is about landforms in South America, and one of those landforms is the Amazon River and Rainforest. By learning a general overview about those landforms in lesson two will gently lead the students into this next lesson about rainforests around the world. This lesson about rainforests connects to the last two lessons in my unit about South America Rainforest animals and plants because the next two lessons focus in on more details that we briefly touch upon in the Rainforest lesson.
- Lesson Overview (1 min)
- Morning Greeting (2 min)
Students will go around the room saying good morning and their favorite color.
- KWL Chart (5 min)
As a class, we will start out by making a KWL Chart. I will ask the students about what they already know of rainforest and what
they would like to know or learn about them.
- What is a Rainforest (8 min)
The students will watch a short video that explains what the rainforest is. Then we will have a short discussion about what they
- Nature’s Green Umbrella (10 min)
As a class, we will read Nature’s Green Umbrella. This book illustrates all that rainforest entail. It includes the animals, plants,
and each of their environments they need to live in to strive.
- Where are Rainforests? (8 min)
We will look at a map that shows the landforms, such as rainforests, in each country. I will choose a few students to come up and
point out where the rainforests are located around the world.
- Rainforest Worksheet (10 min)
The students will work on a rainforest worksheet. This worksheet has the students draw the equator on a map, then color in the
areas where rainforests exist round the world.
- Introduce Rainforest Layers (5 min)
As a class, we will watch this informative video about the rainforest layers and have a short discussion about what they have
learned and what their favorite layer might be.
- Shoe Box Project (10 min)
The students will have a chance to begin their shoe box project. They will pick their favorite layer and start to create the
background or gather materials they might need to make their layer.
- Lesson Overview (1 min)
- Morning Greeting (2 min)
The students will go around the classroom saying good morning and their favorite rainforest layer that they remember from DAY 1
of the lesson.
- Re-cap of DAY 1 (5 min)
We will have a short class discussion, going over the main topics we learned about in DAY 1 of this lesson.
- Rainforest Worksheet (10 min)
Just to get the student’s memory of rainforests back, I will have them split into partners and fill out a worksheet about rainforests.
This worksheet covers some of the main words or concepts associated with rainforests.
- South America Rainforest locations (7 min)
As a class we will look at a large map of South America and will talk about where the rainforests are in each country while the
students have a handout highlighting the specific areas. We will have a short discussion about this area and type of the world.
- Layers of the Rainforest Continued (10 min)
The students will split into small groups to discuss and create drawing plans of their Shoe Box layer. They will talk over their
ideas with their groups and help each other either remember facts they forgot or find new ways to create their ideas.
- Shoe Box Project (20 min)
Students will choose their favorite layer of the rainforest and start to create it in a shoe box. They will decorate the background of
the shoebox to fit that layer and begin to add some plants and animals that live there. They will continue this in the last two
lessons as well.
Closure and Connections:
A culminating experience that will help the students demonstrate and create their developing knowledge or skills is through their Shoe Box Project. Through this project, they will have the chance to put what they learned into visuals and art. They will summarize what they learned through creating this artwork and by writing about why they chose it and what their layer entails. This relates to the essential question (What is the South America Tropical Rainforest?) and lesson objectives because this project has the students really create the rainforest and everything that lives in it. They will need to remember what they learned through the lesson and create it in a different way than they usually would.
The students might extend their learning through the Shoe Box project. They will expand their rainforest knowledge by actually creating one and having it on display around the classroom. This lesson bridges over to the next lesson about specific plants in the South America Rainforest because this gives a general overview of what is found and what lives in the rainforest. The next lesson goes more in depth about the specific plants that live there and how they effect the environment they live in. The plant lesson will include the continuing of the Shoe Box project of adding in specific plants to the rainforest layers chosen.
One way to differentiate instruction so that students of different learning styles can understand is through watching videos. These videos include words, talking, and colorful pictures that are easy to understand just by looking at them. Another way to help students is by having group or class discussion. By hearing other students’ opinions and thoughts helps everyone see things in a different perspective they might not have thought about before. Also, having individual, group, and art interactions helps students of all learning styles learn and strive.
- Nature’s Green Umbrella book
- large map
- computer, YouTube, projector
- a lot of art materials