Tropical Rainforest Study 2016

A favorite part of our almost month-long study of Tropical Rainforests is the puppet show reader’s theaters we do using the book “The Great Kapok Tree”.  It’s always so fun to see how the students create each animal, and also fun to hear how they use different voices for their characters.  I have included both productions of our reader’s theater for this year, as we performed in two different groups for the kindergarten classes.  Enjoy!!  🙂

For other Tropical Rainforest projects and exciting activities, be sure to follow my Instagram account to check them out!!  (@missrenzelmann)

Tropical Rainforest Unit 2015

Well, better late than never on my FAVORITE unit of the year, our Tropical Rainforest Unit!!  🙂  I’m going to share some projects that we worked on throughout this unit.

We did all sorts of project learning, from hands-on creations to tech projects.  Some of the hands-on projects included: researching and creating models of the 4 layers of the rainforest…measuring out life-sized rainforest creatures and creating them to their actual size…a reader’s theater puppet show…and various writing projects that we used to add to our rainforest classroom decor.  Some of the tech projects included: commercials encouraging people to save the rainforest (made using iMovie)…and animal reports!  We also went on a rainforest-themed field trip to the zoo!!  Below are pictures and videos of our experiences.  Enjoy, and maybe learn something along the way!!  🙂

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Tropical Rainforest Study 2014-Final Weeks and Zoo Field Trip

We are quickly approaching the end of our school year.  This also means the end of our study of Tropical Rainforests.  My hope is that this unit helped to spark an awareness of how important rainforests are, even though we were barely able to scratch the surface of all the plants, animals, and people who live there.

Our last major project that we worked on during class were readers’ theaters adaptations of “The Great Kapok Tree”, an awesome book about the importance of saving the rainforests from destruction.  (We are also still in the midst of working on some computer projects for this unit as well: Powerpoints and Glogsters.)  Here are some pictures and video from our performances of “The Great Kapok Tree”, as presented to both kindergarten classes and two of the preschool classes.  They were GREAT audiences!!

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To wrap up our unit, we took a special field trip to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.  We spent the majority of our day in the Indonesian Rain Forest section, hunting for answers to questions about different plants and animals.  It was a great day, and after a scary start to the day (can we say torrential downpour, thunder, lightning, and hail?), the skies cleared, and we were able to enjoy a wonderful field trip to the zoo!!

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Tropical Rainforest Study 2014- Week 3!!

So much has happened in our classroom since last week’s post!  We have been hard at work, continuing our study of the rainforest.  This week was full of activities that helped us further explore this amazing ecosystem!!

First up, our collages of rainforest products.  Students searched through ads to find medicines, foods, and other products that come from the rainforest.  What an amazing array of items we would miss if our rainforests disappeared!!

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This week was also our first time trying out the school’s iPads.  This was a LOT of fun, and the students were way better at using them than I was!!  🙂  We used a program called ChatterPix, where you have a still picture, but give it a “mouth” and record yourself talking.  When it plays back, the “mouth” moves with your voice!  Super cool.  We told about our animals from our rainforest animal projects.

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Here’s an example:

(Neat, huh?)

My favorite rainforest project is Rainforest Superlatives.  We talk about a few examples of rainforest plants and animals that are either extremely large or extremely small.  Then, using yardsticks and rulers, the students drew out each creature true to life size.

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Finished products:

The Rafflesia Flower: the world’s largest lily, measuring up to 3 feet across!

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The Harpy Eagle: one of the world’s largest eagles, measuring up to 3 feet in height, with a 5 foot wingspan!

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The Pygmy Marmoset: the world’s smallest primate, measuring only 14-16 cm long with a 15-20 cm tail!

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The Goliath Bird-Eater: world’s largest spider, measuring an 11-inch legspan!

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The Reticulated Python: the world’s longest snake, measuring 32 feet, 9 inches in length!

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The Goliath Beetle: one of the world’s largest beetles, measuring up to 6 inches long!

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Our last project for the week involved some practice in letter writing.  We wrote letters to our governor, asking him to help us save the rainforest!  Each letter was then attached to a rainforest creature of their choice and added to our classroom rainforest display!  Lots of great creativity with these!!

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Stay tuned for more fun projects coming up next week!!

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…

Tropical Rainforest Study-Week 4

Our 4th and final week of our tropical rainforest study is upon us.  Yesterday we performed a reader’s theater puppet show for the kindergarten classes.  Half the kids performed for Miss James’ class, the other half performed for Mrs. V’s class.  The kindergarteners were a very good audience.

Here are some pictures from our morning:

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Here are the videos from the performances.  They are labeled with KJ or KV, so your child can help you find which group they were in.  Or you can watch both!  🙂  Enjoy!

The last few activities this week will involve telling others about the rainforest and encouraging them to help protect it.  I think the story of The Great Kapok Tree is a great beginning to a week like this!