Layers of the Rain Forest Distance Learning

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1 Layers of the Rain Forest Distance Learning Summary and Goals Students will be able to identify the layers of the rain forest and animal species that live in each layer. Grade Levels Grades 3-5 Engage This activity is designed to start your students in recognizing themselves as researchers and thinking critically about problem-solving. The goal is to teach concepts through discovery and to encourage using scientific thought processes. As with all lessons provided, please feel free to adapt them according to your students abilities. Some of your students may be early readers, in which case you may find it more successful to lead activities and discussions as a whole group rather than using individual Research Plan sheets. Certain scientific vocabulary may or may not be appropriate for your students level of understanding. Take these ideas, make them your own and your students will have a greater chance at success. What are the challenges for a canopy animal to survive on the forest floor? What about a forest floor animal surviving in the canopy? 1. Begin this lesson by telling students that they will be investigating layers of the rainforest and animal species that inhabit the ecosystem. 2. If your students are familiar with brainstorming and recording their ideas, break them into small groups. If your students need more guidance, work with them as a large group. Engage your students in a discussion of what they predict the answer to the question to be. More importantly, why do they think this? 3. What are the differences and similarities between the layers of the rainforest? What would you have to observe in order to tell the differences between the layers? Explore 4. Continue with the above discussion and encourage the group to come up with ways they could investigate the question and test their predictions scientifically (all suggestions are welcomed). What tools might they need to carry out their suggested explorations? Are there materials that would help them find the answer? Should they be making observations? What kinds of records will they need to keep? What will they do

2 with the information once they have it? And how will they know that they ve successfully answered the question? Allow a wide variety of ideas and encourage conversation amongst the students to refine the details of their ideas. 5. Rainforests Have Layers a. Divide students into groups, assigning each group a different layer of the rain forest, i.e. emergent/canopy/understory/forest floor. b. Have groups collect any information about each group s layer. c. Afterwards, divide students again into different groups and have them work cooperatively to create a list for each of the following categories using the information they learned in their previous groups: i. Group 1: Trees ii. Group 2: Plants for all layers iii. Group 3: Animals in the emergent layer iv. Group 4: Animals in the canopy layer v. Group 5: Animals in the understory layer vi. Group 6: Animals on the forest floor 6. Ideas should be recorded on the Research Plan sheets. Small groups can record their own answers or you can record ideas as a group. Explain 7. Explain to the group that they will be participating in our Distance Learning program Layers of the Rain Forest that might help to give them some insight into the situation. 8. This covers topics including layers of the rain forest, the animals that inhabit those layers and animal species specific to the rain forest habitat. Expand 9. Ask students to reflect on what they have learned in the distance learning program and review their ideas of how to get the information they would need to answer the original research question. 10. Scientists believe that many plants and animals in the rain forest have not been discovered yet. Instruct students to pretend that they have just encountered an unknown rain forest animal or plant. Have each one draw a picture of his discovery, labeling parts that make it adaptable to life in the rain forest. Have the class design and create a rain forest mural. 11. Allow students to discuss and plan how they could make the activity more successful. Do they need to gather any additional information before they can answer the research question? Did they think of additional ways to gather information based on the activities they have just completed? 12. Feel free to repeat any of the activities in any number of ways.

3 Assess 13. Monitor your students as they continue to research and develop their method for communicating their results. Make sure to help them continue their discussion on the rain forest ecosystem. Have your students share their results with the rest of the class. Allow time for student critique and comments. 14. Was the outcome the same as what they had predicted? What are the differences between the layers of the rain forest? Does each layer contribute something to the whole of the forest? 15. If the students are working in small groups, observe their work and review what they are writing on the Research Plan. If working as a whole group, fill in the Research Plan together. Standards Ohio Academic Content Standards Grades 3-5 Life Science Topic: Behavior, Growth, and Changes Individuals of the same kind differ in their traits and sometimes the differences give individuals an advantage in surviving and reproducing Plants and animals have life cycles that are part of their adaptations for survival in their natural environments Life Science Topic: Earth's Living History Changes in an organism's environment are sometimes beneficial to its survival and sometimes harmful Life Science Topic: Interactions within Ecosystems Organisms perform a variety of roles in an ecosystem

4 Standards (continued) Science as Inquiry Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry Understandings about scientific inquiry Physical Science Properties of objects and materials Position and motion of objects Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism Life Science Characteristics of organisms Life cycles of organisms Organisms and environment Earth and Space Science Properties of earth materials Objects in the sky Changes in earth and sky Science in Personal and Social Perspectives Personal health Characteristics and changes in populations Types of resources Changes in environments Science and technology in local challenges Science as Inquiry Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry Understandings about scientific inquiry Life Science Structure and function in living systems Reproduction and heredity Regulation and behavior Populations and ecosystems Diversity and adaptations of organisms Earth and Space Science Structure of the earth system Earth's history Earth in the solar system Science in Personal and Social Perspectives Personal health Populations, resources, and environments Natural hazards Risks and benefits Science and technology in society National Science Education Standards Grades K-4 Grades 5-8

5 Layers of the Rainforest Supplemental Materials My Research Plan 1. What is my research question? Is it a good question? What are the challenges for a canopy animal to survive on the forest floor? What about a forest floor animal surviving in the canopy? 2. How can I get my information? 3. What will I do with this information? 4. How will I know I did my job well?

6 Layers of the Rain Forest Supplemental Materials Animals within a South American Rainforest Emergent Blue Morpho Butterfly Tiger Swallowtail Moths Hummingbird Macaw Canopy Golden Lion Tamarin Squirrel Monkey Two-toed Sloth Black Howler Monkey Amazon Milk Frog Giant Waxy Tree Frog Toucan Black Spider Monkey Yellow and Blue Poison Dart Frog Harpy Eagle Scarlet Macaw Emerald Tree Boa Vampire Bat Understory Jaguar Tree Frogs Yellow-Breasted Capuchin Green Tree Boa Jamaican Fruit Bat Kinkajou Forest Floor Capybara Giant Anteater Red River Hog Anaconda Agouti Tapir Ocelot Blue Poison Dart Frog Green and Black Poison Dart Frog Ornate Horned Frog Smooth-Sided Toad Leaf Cutter Ants

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