Tropical Rainforest Study 2014- Weeks 1 & 2

Two weeks ago, 4R began studying the tropical rainforest ecosystem.  We have been exploring this topic in Reading and Science, and have even made connections in other subjects as well!!  We have barely started in our projects and activities, but I thought that it would be nice to see what we’ve learned about so far.  Here is what we’ve been up to in class for the last 2 weeks.

Our classroom took on a whole new look with this unit.  We walked in last Monday to find that a tree had sprouted right in the middle of our room, and brought with it some vines and other plants.  Then there were the animals…it’s a jungle in here!!

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One of the most important things to learn and understand about the rainforest is that it is divided into 4 distinct layers.  Each layer has different plant and animal life, and they are different enough to almost be their own ecosystems!  We broke into study groups and researched each of the layers in more detail.  Once enough research had been collected, the groups worked together to make large dioramas of the layer they were assigned.  These dioramas were combined to make one large classroom display of the 4 layers of the rainforest!!

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Forest Floor:

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Understory:

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Canopy:

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Emergent:

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The finished product:

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During our second week of study, we took one more opportunity to explore the layers of the rainforest (AND to review what Compare and Contrast means before the ISTEPs!!).  Groups selected two different layers of the rainforest and thought of the many ways that they were alike and different.  Using sticky notes and hula hoops, they compared the two layers in large Venn diagrams.  They were allowed to look for help on the computers, but most of the facts they were able to recall from our layer study last week (we used our research from the diorama project to help with this one, too!).

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Other projects that were done/due during our second week of study were “A Day in the Life of a Rainforest Leaf” writing projects…

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…and Rainforest Animal Research Projects.  For these, students chose an animal that lives in the rainforest, researched their animal to find at least 3 interesting facts, and then drew a picture of their animal (and wrote the facts on the paper) that we added to our 4R Rainforest Wall.

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More projects to come in the next few weeks!!  What an exciting topic to explore!  But be careful…it’s a jungle in here…

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