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Here is a Rain Forest lesson involving painting animals
Social Studies, Art
Painting Endangered Rainforest Animals
Grade level: 3 rd or 4 th
Length: one and half-hours (or two 45-minute periods)
Materials: 12×18 white or colored construction paper, tempera or watercolor paint, brushes, water, water containers, newsprint and pencils for sketching. Children books: Discover Rainforests by L.H. Baptista, What’s in the Rainforest by S. Ross, Tropical Rainforest: Around the World by E. Landau and Animals of the Rainforest by L. Stone. Also the interactive CD-ROM entitled Amazon Trail by MECC is a worthwhile resource that students would enjoy.
Performance Expectation: The students will choose one animal from the rainforest to paint and be able to discuss and explain how and why their animal is endangered within a small group discussion with their peers.
Introduction: Begin the lesson by telling students they are going to apply some of what they’ve been learning about rainforests and their animals in an art activity. Start the lesson by reading one or more of the books listed above. Rainforest music should be playing in the background to set the mood for the lesson (waterfalls, animal cries, thunderstorms etc.). The room should be filled with posters, pictures, books and magazines of rainforest scenes and animals.
Development: Ask students to look around the classroom and think about an animal they have studied or are interested in that they would like to paint. Parameters for the assignment are: to paint their chosen animal from the rainforest and be able to explain to others where that animal lives and why they are endangered. I will sketch an animal up on the board to give students an idea of how detailed and large the shape should be. Students then break up to walk around looking at the books and other materials. They should try to pick their animal within five minutes and begin work on their artwork. Thirty to forty minutes should be adequate for them to finish the art projects.
Closure: For the next approximately thirty minutes students will break into groups of four to five to share about their animals. Specifics to discuss include: habitat, rainforest location and endangered status. Students are finished when all the other group members can attest that each has shared and can explain to others what they have learned about all of the animals.
Assessment: The students will be assessed during their small group discussion after they have painted their animal. They will be assessed if they have thoroughly explained to their peers why and how their animal is endangered. This will be done by peer partners conferencing with the teacher to explain each other’s animals.
Adaptations/Extension: Have students write a factual paragraph about their animal and display it under their painting in a classroom exhibit. Extra resources might be needed for some of the students to learn more about their animal. These may include, CD-ROMs, encyclopedias and reference books. Additional art skills such as color blending, space and background can by improved during this lesson.
References: Heather Stock, 1997