Rainforest Project Ideas

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Rainforests not only provide a habitat for many unique plants and animals, but also have a stabilizing ecological effect for the entire planet. Your students will enjoy learning about rainforests through engagement in these collaborative projects.


Over the past couple of decades, scientists have become increasingly concerned about the environment. While industrialized nations release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and ranching practices, rainforests offer a respite from some of this damage by absorbing some carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. The rainforests provide some degree of homeostasis for the world's climate and water cycle. Additionally, the rainforests support the people, plants, and animals that thrive in this habitat. Students from a variety of grade levels will develop an interest in preserving rainforests by engaging in hands-on, collaborative projects that provide insight into the importance of maintaining the rainforest ecosystem.

Rainforest Projects

Layers of the Rainforest Diorama

Length: 60-90 minutes

Materials needed: shoeboxes (1 per student), felt, construction paper, blue cellophane, glue, gravel, twigs, green crepe paper, scissors, computer/internet/printer access

  • Divide students into four groups. Provide each group with a set of materials.
  • Assign each group one of the layers of the rainforest: forest floor, understory, canopy layer, emergent layer.
  • Have students research their layer so that they are aware of the environment, plant, and animal life in that area.
  • Have students place the box on its side and decorate the inside of the box so that it reflects the terrain, plant, and animal life from their assigned layer.
  • Stack the dioramas on top of each other so that the forest floor is on the bottom, the understory is next, then the canopy layer, and finally the emergent layer on top to create a visual of the four layers of the rain forest.

Food Web

Length: 60-90 minutes

Materials needed: computer/internet/printer, poster board, string

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