Caitlin is a sixth grade geography teacher in Connecticut. She holds a Master's Degree in Educational Techonology.
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
- Identify the four layers of the rainforest.
- Explain why certain plants and animals make their home in each layer of the rainforest.
Common Core Curriculum Standards
Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
Two 45-minute class periods. One to read the book, and one to finish the rainforest mural.
- If I Ran the Rainforest book by the Cat in the Hat Learning Library
- During Reading chart
- Construction paper
- Craft and drawing materials
- Rainforest layer labels
- Bulletin board pre-decorated with large trees
- Emergent Layer
- Forest Floor
- Create a During Reading sheet for the students to complete while they listen to the book at the start of this lesson. On the sheet, have a 3-column, 4-row chart. Label each row with 'Rainforest Layer' and one column 'Animals' and the other 'Plants.' In the end, it should look like this:
- As the book is read, students fill out the chart with the names of the four rainforest layers, the plants and animals that can be found within that layer, and any facts about why each plant or animal makes their home in that layer.
- Read the book If I Ran the Rainforest with your class. Invite students to fill out their during reading chart as they listen.
- Students will create a rainforest mural in your learning space. Have a bulletin board or wall prepared with green and brown paper in the shape of large trees.
- Have students work together as a class to label the four layers of the rainforest on your mural. Using their notes from the story, allow volunteers to place pre-made labels onto the mural in the appropriate areas.
- Once your rainforest labels are in place, break students into small groups to create plants and animals to add to the mural. Depending on the number of students you have, you can have groups of two to four children. The more groups you have, the more full your mural will be.
- Assign each group one of the plants or animals described in the book. They can look back in the book and also refer to their During Reading sheet for more information on their assigned plant or animal. Be sure that each group has a different example to add to the mural and that you have creatures from all four layers represented.
- Using the craft materials and construction paper, student groups will create an image of their rainforest species and a label to go with it. The label should include the name of their plant or animal and why it lives in that layer.
- Once the students have completed their images and labels, invite each group to place their work on the mural within the correct layer, explaining to the rest of the group what they created and why it belongs in that layer of the rainforest.
- Wrap up the lesson by having students complete an exit slip with the prompt 'If I ran the rainforest, I would. . . because.' Tell the students that they must use something from the mural they created as part of their answer. They can share their answers verbally if time allows, or you can collect them as students leave.
- What are the four layers of the rainforest?
- Name a country where we might find a rainforest.
- Name a specific rainforest on Earth.
- Why does this animal/plant make its home in this layer?
Have students write a short story from the perspective of the plant or animal they created for the mural, either the creature narrating about their life in the rainforest or a third person story of something that the plant or animal has experienced in the rainforest.
Use the related lesson Tropical Rainforest Animal Adaptations for further information on several animals that make their home in the rainforest.
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