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This lesson culminates in the creation of rainforest terrariums






Title – Science – Rainforest
By – Jaclyn Ladika
Primary Subject – Science
Grade Level – 4th


  • Students will be able to label the strata of a rainforest.
  • Students will be able to identify what animals live in a rainforest.
  • Students will create their own rainforest environment.

Subject Integration: Language Arts – Writing

Materials: plastic soda bottles, potting soil, grass seed, small plants, gravel, water, plastic spoon, plastic wrap, rubber bands, strata worksheet (includes a definition of the four levels of the rainforest and a rainforest drawing to label with these terms which is available at )

Vocabulary: strata, emergent, canopy, understory, forest floor, extinction, endangered animals.

Instructional Procedures:

Anticipatory Set: Introduce the lesson by asking the students what they tell me about rainforests.

  • Sounds?
  • Animals?
  • What does the rainforest look like?

Developmental Activities: Discuss the rainforest.

      Rainforests are very dense, warm and wet. Millions of plants and animals live here.

      • It is almost always raining in a rainforest. They get over 80 inches of rain each year. The temperature in a rainforest is usually between 75 degrees F and 80 degrees F.
      • Strata (layers) of the Rainforest. Give students strata worksheet. They will fill these in as we talk about the layers.
      • Forest Floor- the largest animals live here. Example: gorillas, anteaters, wild boars, jaguars
      • Understory- a dark, cool environment under the leaves. It has very little light so few plants grow here. Some larger animals, like jaguars spend time on branches looking for prey. Snakes (boa constrictor), lizards and small mammals live on and in tree bark.
      • Canopy- the upper parts of the trees. Birds (toucan, scarlet macaw), insects, mammals, and reptiles live here. Ex: Orangutan, chimpanzees, howling monkeys, snakes, and lizards.
      • Emergents- the tops of the tallest trees. It houses many birds and insects such as the scarlet macaw.


    A lot of the animals in the rainforest are endangered animals (they are in danger of becoming extinct)

    • Chimpanzee, Cockatoo, Gorilla, Jaguar, Orangutan, Scarlet Macaw


  • Give students the strata worksheet. Review the layers of a rainforest and see if students can remember what animals go in the different strata.
  • Create a terrarium. Put students in groups of 4. I will tell them what to do step-by-step.

Assessment: Orally questioning students about the different layers of the rainforest. Observing the answers on the strata worksheet.

Technology: Have the whole class view the field trip of rainforests at the following website: Tramline-Rainforest Field Trip Different portions of the field trip will be assigned to the students. Student will be working in groups.

E-Mail Jaclyn Ladika !

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