877-542-5504 877-542-5504

Want to Help Fellow Teachers?

Please help us grow this free resource by submitting your favorite lesson plans.

Lesson Plan #: AELP-ECL0204
Submitted by: Dr. Richard Oakes Peters
Email: docdk39@hotmail.com
School/University/Affiliation: Augusta State University (GA)

January 25, 2001

Grade Level: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Adult/Continuing Education


  • Science/Ecology

Duration: Five 50-75 minute sessions

Description: In school and at field-based sites, students investigate the characteristics and history of rainforests.


  • Students will learn about the variety of flora and fauna found in a rainforest.
  • Students will  understand what is meant when one says that the Amazon Rainforest is the lungs of the world.
  • Students will investigate Man’s exploitation of rainforest resources.
  • Objectives:

  • Students will use maps and globes to locate selected rainforests in Australia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, India, and the United States’ Pacific Northwest.
  • Students will collect data from a variety of print/non-print materials and resources to create oral/visual/written reports, audiovisual presentations, and visual displays (bulletin boards, tabletop dioramas, etc.).
  • Materials:

    • community resource people/guides
    • community sites: museum of natural history, zoo, or aviary
    • transportation to/from sites
    • books (see References  below)
    • magazines ( National Geographic , etc.)
    • atlases, maps, and globes
    • computer software
    • Internet sites
    • films, filmstrips, slide/tape presentations, videos
    • 8mm/16mm motion picture cameras
    • 35mm still photography cameras
    • video tape equipment


  • biome – A major community (flora & fauna) located on a specific continental sub-division of the solid portion of earth.
  • rainforest layers – The floor, the understory, the canopy, and the giant emergent trees.
  • herbivores – Creatures whose diet consists of plants and grasses (vegetation).
  • Procedure:  
    Students collect data about the rainforest using a variety of print/non-print materials and resources. Students interact with community resource people to learn about the characteristics and history of rainforests. Students also visit field-based sites or places where they can observe rainforest recreations. Data that students compile is incorporated into a variety of oral/written/visual presentations.

    Assessment: Students demonstrate acquired knowledge and skills by: writing reports, preparing presentations, creating visual displays, locating rainforests on maps/globes, correctly answering 80% of objective test items (true/false, matching, multiple choice, completion or supply), completing essay questions, writing poems and songs,  and creating a tabletop replica of a rainforest. Three sample test questions are provided below:

  • A rainforest is:
    a) dry with sparse vegetation
    b) semi-humid with occasional trees
    c) damp/humid with dense vegetation
    d) marsh-like with salt water coves
    ( Answer: c )
  • The roof of a rainforest is called the ________ . ( Answer: canopy )
  • Trees are called the lungs of the Earth because they:
    a) provide shelter and food for birds and other creatures
    b) provide shade and reduce atmospheric temperatures
    c) take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide
    d) take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen
    ( Answer: d )
  • Useful Internet Resources:
    * AIRR (Amazon International Rainforest Reserve)

    * Enchanted Learning – Zoom Rainforests

    * Friends of the Earth

    * Rain Bird (curriculum materials for classroom teachers)

    Other Resources:

  • Leigh, E.G. (ed). (1982). The Ecology of a Tropical Forest: Seasonal Rhythms and Long-term Changes . Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Schoonmaker, P K. (ed). (1997). The Rain Forest of Home: Profile of a North American Bioregion . Washington, DC: Island Press.
  • Struhsaker, T.T. (1997). Ecology of an African Rain Forest . Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.
  • Terborgh, J.W. (1992). Diversity and the Tropical Rain Forest . New York, NY: Scientific American Library.