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Pop-Up Wildlife Mural

This rainforest mural is teeming with plants and animals. Some of them jump right out on their accordion-fold springs!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Rainforests are essential to maintaining a healthy balance in the Earth's natural ecosystem. Invite students, working in small groups, to research life in a rainforest. What vegetation grows there? What kinds of animals can be found? Which insects live there? Find out why these ecosystems are so important to everyone's life. Organize a variety of text and electronic resources for students to use during this task.
    2. Provide time for student groups to discuss their research findings. Advise them to organize their learning in order to infuse it into the re-creation of a rainforest habitat.
    3. Groups begin with a large piece of white roll paper. Collaborate to create a background for your rainforest scene. Illustrate your mural with Crayola® Washable Markers and Crayola Crayons. Show authentic types of trees and plants. In the rainforest, very little sky can be seen through the dense vegetation, so create tiny patches of blue sky and yellow sun. Rainforests are hot and humid, so leaves might glisten with moisture. Show pools of water and rivers. Rub crayon drawings with a piece of paper towel to make them shine as if they were wet!
    4. On separate construction paper, use crayons and markers to create the many creatures---animals, insects, birds, snakes, fish---that reside in the rainforest. Cut them out with Crayola Scissors.
    5. Remove the paper wrappers from several leaf-colored crayons. Place green leaves rib side up under light paper. Rub the side of the crayon over the paper to reveal the leaf image. Cut out the leaves. These leaves can be polished with a paper towel.
    6. Fold strips of paper, about as long and wide as your finger, into tiny accordions. With Crayola Glue Sticks, attach one end of each strip to the cut-out creatures and leaves. Glue the other end or the accordion onto the mural for a 3-D effect.
    7. Each group organizes a presentation for classmates. Remind students to infuse their research into the presentation. Their rainforest artwork is a visual tool to be used to enhance their presentation.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    SCI: Construct a representation in which plants and animals depend on their environment and each other to meet their needs.

    SCI: Analyze a representation of a particular habitat showing the locations and shapes of both land and water features of that habitat and communicate how the land and water support animals and plants.

    SCI: Construct an explanation about the effect of environmental changes – whether slow or rapid – on the survival of plants and animals that live there.

    SS: Identify and use various source for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Use knowledge of facts and concepts drawn from history, along with elements of historical inquiry, to inform decision-making about and action-taking on public issues.

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

    SS: Examine the relationships and tensions between personal wants and needs and various global concerns, such as use of imported oil, land use, and environmental protection.

    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 include: Animals In The Shower by Mary Ann Rogers; The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan K. Mitchell; The Remarkable Rainforest: An Active-Learning Book for Kids by Toni Albert

    Are rainforests important to the Earth's environment? Students teams work to research both sides of this question. Prepare a class debate. Students teams prepare information for both sides of this question.

    Students investigate what rainforest creatures and plants are becoming extinct. Create and color them as part of a community bulletin board. Encourage students to include only endangered plants and animals in 3-D to attract attention to them.

    Why are rainforests disappearing so rapidly? Students investigate this question and create a poster that answers the question. Why is it important for people to save these environments? Students list ways to help save rainforests from destruction.

    Students create a map of the world with countries' borders outlined. Identify and locate all the world's rainforests. Include the original size of the rainforest as well as its size now. List, as well, all creatures and plants that are endangered but still existing in the rainforest.


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