Dr Seuss: If I ran a Rain Forest


The South America unit study we began last summer was never really finished as it was tricky for me to be part of it due to all the Shakespeare work the older ones and I were doing.  Just recently I have had the opportunity to review a curriculum from EdTechLens all about the rain forests.  It looked an amazing curriculum and it has completely reignited all our passions for learning about South America, with a focus on the Amazon Rain Forest.  I will have a few posts coming out each with a focus on one particular book, along with extra reading and all the activities which we did alongside.

This week we have been using If I Ran the Rain Forest (The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library, Book 9), using the In the Rainforest (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) as a non fiction go along:

Rain forest-unit study

As the focus of these books is the various levels of the Rain Forest, I will be using Chapter One, Unit One of EdTechLens’ Rainforest Curriculum called Looking Inside the Rainforest.  We will be working our way through the first five lessons of unit one: 

  1. Forest Floor
  2. Understory
  3. Canopy
  4. Emergent
  5. Types of Rain Forest

This week’s work is meant to be a formal introduction to the Rain Forest.  Each day the girls narrated all they had learnt, I typed their narrations into StartWrite and they spent their handwriting time copying their narration.  They also completed all the lesson reviews which come with the curriculum.

Field Trip to Visit a Rainforest (or in our case a tropical butterfly garden)

We, unfortunately, do not live anywhere near a rain forest, although the rain part is pretty accurate!  So given the lack rain forests in the near vicinity we decided to go and visit the butterflies at Wisley.  Situated in a huge glass house, the butterflies live in as close as possible environment to a tropical jungle:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-13

My computer is only letting me download one photo at a time so I haven’t included loads.  The littles pointed out a lot of the elements they remembered from their studies, such as buttress roots:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-5

vines in the understory:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-6

the thickness of the overhanging canopy:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-8

the brightly coloured flowers:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-7

and of course the butterflies:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-11

Diorama of the Four Levels of a Rainforest

My goal here was to consolidate the little ones learning.  For this we collected anything we thought might be helpful:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama

I set up the box and made the tree trunks with the buttress roots.  A7 made sure we came out of the top of the box for ‘the windy emergent layer, mummy!’

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-2

After that we went layer by layer.  The girls told me what the bottom layer was called and described it for me.  They then went and collected all sorts of bits and pieces from indoors and out to create their forest floor, adding in the animals right at the end:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-14

Next they described the understory and fashioned some vines out of green crepe paper:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-15

Then came the fun of the canopy.  We all crumpled up tissue paper in various shades of green to become the thick overhead canopy.  The girls added the butterfly and the family of gorillas:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-16

The emergent layer was left bare as it is in reality because of the very windy conditions so high up.  Here is our diorama of a rain forest in its entirety:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-4

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-3

And a very quickly labeled one:

South America-jungle-rainforest-diorama-18

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    1. It was so hot inside! We had all bundled up in loads of coats, jumpers, tights etc because of the cold weather, only to strip off once inside!

  1. Such great work. Seems like your girls had some fun doing this study. Everytime I look at your blog I’m upset that I waited till my boys were older before homeschooling them. I missed out on so much fun stuff for the younger years. 🙂

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