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Improving Math & Science Learning:
Rain Forest Adventures

Project URL: Rain Forest Adventures 

How it works

Tropical rain forests are fascinating places which captivate the learning interests of all children. This interdisciplinary unit introduces students to the geographic locations of the world's rain forests, the diversity of plants and animals and their importance to the ecosystem, the products and resources found in rain forests, and the ways people can help to preserve and protect these environments. Through visits to the zoos in Manhattan and the Bronx, students will have the opportunity to compare and contrast the Congo African rain forest with the South American rain forest. Activities will include making rain forest terrariums and studying growth of plant life in a simulated humid environment; learning about food chains; creating the different layers of the rain forest; and classifying the living creatures in each layer.

With Internet access, students will research the various animals and plant life found in the two kinds of rain forest and develop mini-presentations using HyperStudio and Inspiration. Visits will be captured through digital photos and scanned into their multimedia projects.

Standards addressed by this unit:

The NYS Science Education Standards which apply to the lessons include:

1. Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.

2. Students will access, generate, process, and transfer information using appropriate technologies.

3. Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment.

4. Students will apply the knowledge and thinking skills of mathematics, science, and technology to address real-life problems and make informed decisions.

Software materials used:




Video programs on Rain Forests


150 students from five 3rd grade classes of mixed ability levels were involved in this project. They worked with the science and computer teachers in developing their research projects. Students worked in small cooperative groups in many of the activities and during their research.


Learning about the rain forests was very motivating, fun, and interactive for the students. Visits to the zoos were exciting as well as educational. Access to the various Internet websites on rain forests helped tremendously as children researched their animals and plants and participated in some of the activities on-line. They also enjoyed working with peers on creating their multimedia projects.


Access to the Internet is important. Mini-lessons on using HyperStudio are important before they begin their projects. Note-taking skills can be taught. Creativity is encouraged.

Alice Hom has been at P.S. 6 for 18 years, teaching in the Resource Room, kindergarten, 2nd, and 3rd grades. Recently, she has served as the Math staff facilitator. She is the recipient of past IMPACT II Adaptor and Developer grants. In addition, she is a National Teacher Policy Institute MetLife Fellow.

E-mail: ahom6145@aol.com

Estimated class periods to complete: 10 or more

Subject areas: Science

Beginning grade level: 3

Ending grade level: 5


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