If I Ran the Rainforest Lesson Plan

Instructor: Caitlin Ferraiolo Brady

Caitlin is a sixth grade geography teacher in Connecticut. She holds a Master's Degree in Educational Techonology.

This lesson is an investigation of the rainforest using the Cat in the Hat Learning Library book 'If I Ran the Rainforest.' The lesson includes reading activity for the story and the creation of a rainforest mural to show information learned from the book.

Lesson Objective

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.

Time Length

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


  • Canopy
  • Understory
  • Emergent Layer
  • Forest Floor

Lesson Instructions

  • 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:

Rainforest Layer Plants Animals
Emergent Layer
Forest Floor
  • 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.

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