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Improving Math & Science Learning:
Rain Forest Adventures

FYI - TEACHER SHEET

Locations of Tropical Rain Forests

  • Narrow region near equator in west Africa, southwest Asia, South America, Central America.

  • Between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.

  • Largest one stretches across the Amazon Basin in South America.

  • In US, few tropical rain forests left in Hawaii.

Characteristics

  • Lots of moisture, warm temperatures

  • Average temperature: 80 degrees F..

  • Average humidity: 83%

  • Minimum average rainfall is 2 meters (41 inches); maximum is 10 meters (400 inches).

  • Lots of exotic plants, animals

Layers of Rain Forest: plants & animals found in each

  • Floor: Dark, wet, little wind, little change in temperature.  Palms, herbs, mushroom live on forest floor.  Acouchis (rabbit-sized rodents), peccaries (wild pigs), tarantulas, snakes, insects (cleanup crew for recycling nutrients) are found on floor of rain forest.

  • Understory: Some sunlight, less moisture.  Smaller trees (15 feet) and shrubs.  Jaguars and margays (climbing cat), small birds and mammals, snakes live in the understory.

  • Canopy (Umbrella): Continuous layer of green.  Sunlight above, near darkness below.  Trees with flat leaves can grow 65 to 100 feet above ground.  Small plants like bromeliads, orchids, and philodendrons live above the forest floor by perching on the branches and trunks of trees.  These are called epiphytes.  Vines climb toward the sun.  Climbing, flying and gliding animals like birds, bats, butterflies, sloths, and monkeys can be found in this layer.

  • Emergent: Giant trees that tower above all other plants, usually to heights of 115 to 250 feet.  Usually only one or two emergents per acre, with small leaves, umbrella-shaped crowns, and tall, slender trunks.

 

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