Plan a Rainforest Habitat > Print/View All Notes
In this activity, students will use what they have learned in the lesson so far to plan and create a virtual habitat for a rainforest animal of their choosing. The habitat must meet the animal's needs for water, food and shelter.
Begin by breaking your students into groups of 2 or 3 children. Show and explain the graphic of the engineering design process on page 6 in their Rainforest Detective Notebooks. Explain that they will be following these steps as they create their animal habitats. Then have students watch the following videos to learn more about the process engineers use to solve problems. Ask students to think about how they can use this same approach in designing their habitats.
(from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
On the NASA page, select from a video format listed on the right.
> Perfect Fit
(National Defense Education Program: Lab TV)
Next, ask students to turn to page 7 of their Rainforest Detective Notebooks. Students should begin by selecting an animal and drawing a picture of it in their notebooks. Alternatively, they can cut out and paste a picture of the animal in their notebooks (pictures of all animals can be found on pages 11-16 in their notebooks). Then, ask students to brainstorm in their small groups about what this animal might need in its habitat. Have your students examine the pictures of water, plants, insects, etc., that appear on page 10. You may ask them to classify which items might be useful in building habitats for particular animals in the rainforest.
Next, have students work with their groups to cut and paste the things that their animals will need to survive. Facilitate small group discussion among students, and ask them to explain why each item they selected is important for their habitat. If students have trouble remembering what their animals need in terms of food, shelter and water, have them refer back to earlier pages in their Rainforest Detective Notebooks.
Looking ahead to the next activity, Build a Rainforest, students will continue following the engineering design process and use the Habitat Builder Tool to create their virtual habitats. You will need to take your students to the computer lab, or if you have access to a computer in your classroom, work with each group at the computer station.
The correct choices for each animal's habitat are shown below.
Correct choices for food:
Tapir: leaves, fruit
Toucan: lizards, eggs, fruit
Leafcutter Ant: fungus on leaves
Hummingbird: bugs, nectar
Capuchin Monkey: fruit, lizard, bird
Red-eyed tree frog: bugs
Correct choices for water sources:
Toucan: water of leaves, fruit
Leafcutter Ant: water on leaves, puddle
Capuchin Monkey: water on leaves, pond
Red-eyed tree frog: pond
Correct choices for shelter:
Tapir: large pond with leaf clusters on the ground
Toucan: hole in tree
Leafcutter Ant: hole in a mound of dirt
Hummingbird: cluster of leaves including a bird's nest
Capuchin Monkey: cluster of branches in a tree with leaves
Red-eyed tree frog: cluster of large leaves in a tree