Rainforest Unit Study

My family spent some time hiking through a rain forest a couple of weeks ago, and we were mesmerized by the translucent green light filtering through the trees. The mossy branches held their arms up while birds and animals lived in their shade. It seemed like every time we turned a corner, we would find another interesting-shaped mushroom attached to a tree trunk or the ground. We were truly enchanted by our hike through the rainforest. If you are doing a rainforest unit study, the best thing you can do is to actually go on a field trip to a rain forest. To experience the humidity of the environment and the incredible height of the trees is something that can only be experienced in person, but aside from that, you can look at a slide show of the Amazon Rainforest. If you want to see a map of where the Amazon Rainforest is located, you can find a map here.

You can also watch the following video to give you an introduction to the rainforest:

There are distinct layers to the rainforest:

  • The Forest Floor
  • The Understory
  • The Canopy
  • The Emergent Layer

Each of these layers contains different kinds of animals.

These different layers can easily be made into a diorama. You can make a diorama out of a shoe box that you spray paint green. Cut out rain forest pictures from old National Geographic magazines, and glue a large picture on the back of the shoe box. Then you can glue animal and plant pictures to card stock paper and hot glue them to the floor of the shoebox. If you want to stack 4 shoe boxes to represent the 4 layers of the rainforest, it will look like this:

Now you will want to make a Rainforest Terrarium, or a Rainforest in a Bottle. You will need a glass container, pebbles, good potting soil, and plants of various textures and colors.

Take a look at this tutorial for how to make your Rainforest Terrarium:

I made something similar last year when I was doing a Bible craft about the Garden of Eden, which was probably like a rainforest:

If you have younger students, you will want to color a picture of a rainforest. If you can buy a rainforest poster, that would be even better! My daughter colored a large rainforest poster with markers. If you can't afford a poster, you can print out some of these coloring pages:

Here is a printable for learning the layers of the rainforest:

How about studying gorgeous but poisonous tree frogs? You can do these fun tree frog crafts:

Or you can study monkeys and then act like one. Wear this fun monkey mask:

You can study any of the animals in the rainforest. Why not print out some large cards of the rainforest and laminate them? You can use them for identifying the animals of the rainforest and learning more about them. If you print out two of every kind, it can be a matching game for preschoolers:

Last but not least, you might want to play a rainforest game online:

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