What Is a Rainforest? > Print/View All Notes
In this activity, students will explore an interactive storybook. After listening to the story, they will be able to identify the characteristics of the rainforest and its different layers. Before talking about the details of the story, discuss with your students what characteristic means. What are the characteristics of a teacher, a classroom, etc., and then ask them about the characteristics of the rainforest. Note that important key words are defined in the student resources section. Review these key words with students as they explore the lesson.
Students will learn that the rainforest is a habitat for many different types of animals. (An animal habitat is a place where an animal lives, and animals depend on the land, water and air in their habitats to live and grow.) They will also see examples of rainforest animals and plants.
After your students have explored the interactive story, take some time to discuss what they have learned. Ask them what they remember from the story about the weather in the rainforest, the different parts of the rainforest, and the animals and plants that live there. Be sure to introduce the idea of habitat. Your students should know that a habitat is a place where an animal or plant lives, and it has to provide everything an animal or plant needs to survive. Ask your students what they already know about animal and plant needs. For animals, students may share ideas about air, water, space, food and shelter. For plants, they may share ideas about air, water and light, and they may also mention compost, fertilizer or "plant food"—nutrients that plants need to live and grow. All of these things are necessary. Tell your students that in this lesson, your class will focus on animals' needs for food, water and shelter.
After the discussion, pass out the students' Rainforest Detective Notebooks. Let them know that they will be acting as detectives in this lesson to explore and learn about the rainforest. In that role, they will need to use their notebooks to record what they learn. Ask students to turn to page 1. They will need to cut out pictures of four different rainforest animals and paste the animals where they live in the rainforest (above the canopy, in the canopy, below the canopy or on the forest floor). For advanced learners, the proper terms for the layers of the rainforest can be used (overstory (above the canopy), canopy, understory (area directly below the canopy) and forest floor).
If you would like to extend the activity, you may collect some books about the rainforest and read them aloud with your students.