Kindergarten, Lesson 1: My Forest or the Rainforest?

Kindergarten, Lesson 1

Concept 

There are many differences and similarities between the flora and fauna of temperate forests and rainforests. Certain environmental conditions allow particular plants and animals to live in the rainforest.

Essential Question 

How can something so far away and different be so similar?

Total Time 

85 minutes

Step 1 -- Connect (The Concept to Prior Knowledge) [20 Minutes]

Step 1

Challenge

Challenge students to work with a partner to sort pictures, sounds and objects according to whether they think each item can be found in a rainforest or temperate forest.

 

Materials

Per three - four students/group. If you can make more sets of these materials, divide the class into pairs.

- Three, 12" x 15" presentation cardboards or white boards. Label one board "Rainforest," one board "My Forest" (Temperate Forest) and the other, "Both." On the front of each board stick small pieces of Velcro at random locations.
- A mixed set of pictures, objects and sounds representative of flora, fauna and landscapes from temperate forest and rainforest. Pictures and objects should have masking tape stuck on back.
- Masking tape.

Temperate Forest Rainforest
Actual objects Actual objects
- Ferns* (bracken fern, interrupted fern)
- Fruit (apple, blueberry, pumpkins)
- Leaves: deciduous & coniferous (American beech, eastern white pine needles, red maple, red oak, red pine needles, sugar maple, white ash, etc.)
- Lichens and mosses* (Species may be limited geographically, but these organisms thrive in both forests)
- Maple syrup samples -- taste it!
- Mushrooms*
- Seeds (acorns, apple seeds, maple seeds, pine cones)
- Snow, Ice
- Soil*
- Coffee beans
- Fruit (avocado, banana, fig, mango, orange)
- Lichens and mosses*(Species may be limited geographically, but these organisms thrive in both forests)
- Mushrooms*
- Plants (w/ large leaves* (i.e., elephant ear Fern, orchid flowers)
- Soil*
Pictures Pictures
- Amphibians (bullfrog, spring peeper, tree frog)
- Birds (American crow, American kestrel*, black-capped chickadee, blue jay, hummingbird*, northern cardinal, northern parula*, red-tailed hawk*, rock dove, veery*, wood thrush*,)
- Insects* (carpenter ants, mosquitoes*)
- Landscapes (winter, fall, early spring)
- Mammals (black bear, badger, beaver, deer mouse*, gray squirrel, little brown myotis bat, lynx, moose, muskrat, weasel, white-tailed deer)
- Rain and lightning*
- Reptiles (garter snake, rattlesnake)
- Tall trees* (American beech, paper birch, red maple, red oak, sugar maple, etc.)
- Amphibians (poison arrow frog, red-eyed tree frog)
-Birds (American kestrel*, cattle egret, cockatoo, hummingbird*, toucan, parrot, pelican, quetzal, scarlet macaw, rainbow lorikeet, red-tailed hawk*, veery*, wood thrush*)
- Ferns* (tree fern, calla lily, elephant ear fern)
- Insects* (leaf cutter ants*, bees*, large stag beetle, colorful katydids)
- Landscapes (ridgelines dominated by green vegetation*, dense canopy with emergent layer of trees)
- Mammals (anteater, chimpanzee, deer mouse*, flying foxes*(bats limited to rainforests), howler monkey, jaguar, kinkajou, ocelot, spectacled bear, tamarin monkey)
- Rain and lightning*
- Reptiles (anaconda, boa constrictor, chameleon, gecko)
- Trees (w/ very large trunks, tall trees* cacao tree, cecropia tree, kapok tree, teak tree, strangler fig tree)
Sounds Sounds**
- Animals: (see examples from "Pictures" above) - Animals: (see examples from "Pictures" above)

 

* Landscape photos can be 8 1/2" x 11". Plant and animal photos should be no larger than 3" x 5" so that 10 or so of these images can later be displayed as a collage on the presentation board.

** A computer can be set up at one station with various sounds posted for students to click and hear with headphones. There is a Web site that has a large collection of rainforest sounds. To save these items, open each sound file using Windows Media Player. Click "File," then "Export Playlist to File." Save the file on your computer’s desktop and give it a name such as "Sound 1" or "Bird 2." Temperate forest sounds can be found on many Web sites. Audiotaping early morning sounds is also an option.

Procedure

Rather than say "rainforest" say, "A forest where it rains almost every day of the year- often more than 100 inches per year. There is only one season, and the temperatures are typically between 70 and 90 degrees." Rather than say "temperate forest" say, "the forest around here" if you live near or in a temperate forest. Or say, "A forest where it rains about 35 inches per year, there are four seasons and the temperatures range from 0 to 100 degrees."
  1. Set up 4 - 6 stations, each containing the same set of objects, pictures and sounds listed above. These items should be in a random pile.
  2. Challenge students working in groups of 3 - 4 to sort the items into three piles consisting of plants, animals, weather and scenery from: (a) a temperate forest (presumably their own); (b) a rainforest, and (c) items that belong in both places.
  3. Tell students to tape each picture onto the appropriate presentation board and to place each object in front of the corresponding board as well. If they are able to listen to sounds, tell them to tape the sound number on the board they think it belongs.
  4. Explain that they will return to their boards in a little while.

 

Step 2 - Literature/Discuss (Give Expert Information Book; Ask Questions)

Challenge

After reading aloud The Umbrella by Jan Brett, challenge students to verbalize how rainforests and temperate forests are similar and different. Then ask students to return to their presentation boards and make any changes based on what they just learned.

Materials

- Book: The Umbrella by Jan Brett

Procedure

  1. While reading The Umbrella ask questions like:
    1. Describe at least five ways a rainforest is different from the forest closest to where we live.
    2. What is the difference between the seasons where we live and the seasons of the rainforest we read about?
    3. Why do you think moose don’t live in the rainforest? Why do you think monkeys don't live in a temperate forest?
    4. What kinds of animals and/or plants live in both rainforests and temperate forests?
  2. Ask students to work with a partner to describe three ways they think rainforests and temperate forests are different. Elicit students' ideas and ask which ideas, if any, they don’t agree with and why.

Step 3A -- Practice (Math and Learning Centers) [15 Minutes]

Challenge

Challenge students to work in their original groups to reorganize their forest boards based on what they learned from the previous reading and discussion.

Materials

- Same as Step 1

Procedure

  1. After presenting the challenge and giving the students a few minutes to make any changes, pick a few of the items from each board and ask them to explain what makes them think it belongs where they placed it. Then tell each group how many of the items on each board do not reflect what we know in real life.
  2. When all the groups think they are done, have them rotate around to each of the other groups’ presentations and ask them to note of any items that are organized differently from their own.
  3. Elicit from the whole group those items on which they do not agree. Ask students to explain their thinking and inform them of the correct answer.

Step 3B -- Create (Performance Tasks Related to Standard Indicators) [20 Minutes]

Challenge

Students create collages that depict the rainforest and the local forest, displaying their understanding of the two types.

Materials

- Objects and pictures from Step 1
- Large posterboard or butcher paper on which to tape elements and paint
- An assortment of crayons, paints, markers, colored pencils, etc.
- Masking tape

Procedure

1. Ask students to disassemble and mix up their entire set of objects and pictures and then make a final collage using the pictures and objects from the exercise. Invite them to paint and draw other items that they think belong in each forest. You could facilitate the creation of two larger murals on which all the items from all the groups are displayed. In either scenario, use their final work to help them verbalize the similarities and differences between a temperate forest and a rainforest.

Step 4 -- Present (Edit Work/Students Present Projects) [10 Minutes]

Challenge

Students present their newly created landscape collages, explaining what lives in their forest and why it belongs there.

Materials

- Same as Step 1

Procedure

  1. Ask students to describe their collages to the class. Challenge them to describe the plants and animals that live in the forest they chose. Ask them to explain why some plants and animals live in one forest and not the other, and how some animals can live in both the local, or temperate, forest as well as the rainforest. Challenge students to verbalize the similarities and differences between a temperate forest and a rainforest.

The Rainforest Alliance curricula is unique in that it teaches language arts, math, science, social studies and the arts while addressing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts and mathematics, and the Next Generation Science Standards. Our multidisciplinary curricula present information on forests, biodiversity, local communities and sustainable practices. Lessons provide a global perspective on the importance of protecting the world's natural resources, locally and globally, while giving students opportunities for direct action.

To help teachers seamlessly integrate our resources into their lesson plans, we have correlated our kindergarten through 8th grade and climate curriculum guides to the Common Core State Standards for both English language arts and mathematics, as well as the Next Generation Science Standards. Please feel free to use these correlations to help guide you through these lessons, as well to help you identify extensions and adaptations to advance your work.

The Rainforest Alliance can help your school district incorporate local standards and closely align our curricula with the educational mandates in your region.

In addition to the above standards, the education program seeks to advance alignment opportunities with the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development; National Education for Sustainability (K-12) Student Learning Standards.

For any further inquiries, please contact us at education@ra.org.

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