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Ecosystem in Danger: Brazilian Rainforest

Protection of the world’s tropical rainforests is a key environmental strategy for keeping the Earth healthy. Demonstrate the delicate balance of life in a Brazilian rainforest with a 3-D triarama.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Read The Great Kapok Tree by Lynn Cherry. Students research information about the rapid destruction of rainforests and the impact this is having on the planet. What plants and animals live in tropical rainforests? Why are they important? This project is one way for students to show what they learned about the fragile rainforest ecosystem.
    2. Cut a file folder into a large square. Fold the square diagonally in both directions, from corner to corner, and crease, creating an X in the center. Cut along a fold line from one corner to the center, making two triangle flaps.
    3. The two upper triangles are the background for the rainforest setting. With Crayola Twistables™ Slick Stix™ Crayons, fill them with leaves, branches, vines, and flowers. Blend the rich, bright colors with a cotton swab to look realistic. Design one small flap to look like the rainforest floor. The other flap will be tucked underneath it.
    4. Using Crayola Colored Pencils, draw a large tree trunk on the remaining file folder pieces and cut it out. Slightly mix two or more Crayola Model Magic® colors to make a realistic hue. Cover the tree trunk with Model Magic compound, using your fingers to give it a textured look. Glue it in the center of triorama.
    5. On Crayola Construction Paper, draw and color rainforest plants and creatures. Cut them out. Glue them into the triorama to create a 3-D effect. To complete the triarama as a science project, label the wildlife and write a report to describe the issues with regard to climate change.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of aspects of a topic.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SCI: Construct original explanations of phenomena using knowledge of accepted scientific theory and linking it to models and evidence.

    SS: Give examples of conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among individuals, groups, and nations.

    SS: Explore causes, consequences, and possible solutions to persistent, contemporary, and emerging global issues, such as pollution and endangered species.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources: The Great Kapok Tree by Lynn Cherry; Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme by Marianne Berkes; A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History by Lynne Cherry; Nature's Green Umbrella by Gail Gibbons

    Students investigate a selected rainforest, documenting its original wealth of plants and animals and looking with a critical eye at how the same rainforest looks today. In their research, students will look for reasons for the decline of the rainforest and theorize how people can stop or slow down this decline. Students organize their research into an electronic presentation and upload it to a class computer.

    Using their research, student groups create posters and flyers to convey the rainforest conservation message and its urgency. Included in the posters and flyers is an outline of steps people can take to make a difference!

    Have students organize a debate about the Amazon rainforest and changes that have been documented there in the past 20 years. Prior to the debate, have students research how a debate is run.

    Students draw the outline of a world map, including the borders of each country. Locate tropical and temperate rainforest locations on the map. Identify the differences in each ecosystem.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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