Marie Curie Math & Science Center
Farah Jaquith

Working Group #3A

Rain Forest--The People/ Grade 3

Commencement content standard

  • Analysis, Inquiry, and Design : Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers and develop solutions.
  • Information Systems : Students wil access, generate, process and transfer information using appropriate technologies.
  • Science: Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.
  • Interdisciplinary Problem Solving: Students will apply the knowledge and thinking skills of mathematics, science and technology to address real- life problems and make informed decisions.

Benchmark standards:

Content standards

  • Critical thinking skills are used in the solution of mathematical problems.
  • The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing, creative process.
  • Engineering design is an iterative process involving modeling and optimization finding the best solution within given constraints which is used to develop technological solutions to problems within given constraints.
  • Information technology is used retrieve, process and communicate information and as a tool to enhance learning.
  • Organisms inherit genetic information in a variety of ways that result in a continuity of structure and function between parents and offspring.
  • Living things are both similar to and different from each ther and non- living things.
  • Organisms maintain a dynamic equilibrium that sustains life.
  • Plants and animals depend on each other and their physical environment.
  • Human decisions and activities have had a profound impact an the physical and living environment.
  • Analyze science / technology / society problems and issues that affect their home, school or community and carry out a remedial course of action.
  • Make informed consumer decisions by applying knowledge about the attributes of particular products and making cost / benefit tradeoffs to arrive at an optimal choice
  • Design solutions to problems involving a familiar and real context, investigate related science concepts to inform the solution and use mathematics to model, quantify, measure and compute.

Performance standards

 Students will identify ways in which humans have changed their environment and the effects of those changes. 

  • Students will describe characteristics of and variations between living and non-living things.
  • Students will use the internet, computer software, CD-Roms and printed materials to promote learning.
  • Students will understand the interdependencies of one human to another and to the environment.
  • Students will understand the similarities among humans and welcome the differences.
  • Students will be affected by the devastation of the rain forest.
  • Students will make informed consumer decisions by applying knowledge and attributes of particular products and arrive at a choice.
  • Students will construct tables/ charts/ graphs to display real world data.
  • Students will observe that all rain forest people have similarities and differences in all the areas.
  • Students will that each species has a purpose and a part in the food chain.

Content standards
Students will have a greater understanding of the many indigenous people of the world's rain forests, the many dangers to their survival and the impact of the large companies depleting the forests.

Students will make informed decisions and judgements about many rain forest products; ones that are natural to the forest and ones that cause destruction.

Students will pose questions in letters to children of the rain forest

Performance measure

Students will be able to identify the Rainforests of the world, identify some of the Peoples and illustrate concerns in letters to show empathy. They will also involve in fundraising activities ( observable) to help promote public awareness of the rain forest problem which affects all of us.

Novice: The student is not able to locate the Rainforests; is not able to name any of its

people; not able to construct a letter to a child in a Rainforest.

Apprentice: The student is able to identify two Rainforests; is able to name two groups of

people; and can construct a letter of five lines telling about himself.

Practitioner: The student is able to identify all the Rainforests studied; is able to name all

the people studied; and can construct a letter of three paragraphs asking questions about their school life and telling about his school life.

Expert: The student is able to identify more Rainforests than the ones studied; is able to

describe three similarities and three differences between all the groups studied; and construct a letter of five paragraphs to a Rainforest child expressing knowledge about and

concern for the effects of Rainforest devastation on their life and on the rest of the world's


 Enabling Activities:


Commence the learning of The Rain Forest People with a KWL or a Semantic chart.

GROUPING - Whole class

TIME -- As long as it takes for everyone to participate

PROPS--Large chart paper, easle, brightly colored markers

  • Construct a class knowledge chart containing columns for What We Think We Already Know, What We Want To Know or Curious About and What We Found Out. A Semantic Chart can be used instead.




  • Brainstorm the first two colunms or components of the KWL chart and record ALL responses.

Briefly introduce the concept of the rain forest. Use the word jungle and impress upon the students the more preferred term-- rain forest. ( jungle has a stereotypical record of tarzan and apes.)


Use visuals to understand the area of earth that is covered by tropical forests

GROUPING-whole class; students working in pairs

TIME- 40 minutes

PROPS- chart paper or chalkboard, globe, circles to be cut into fourths, several single dollar bills, quarters to match the value of the bills

  • Draw a circle to represent the earth
  • Divide into four equal parts
  • introduce the concept of percent, giving as manay concrete examples as possible (a dollar divided into 100 parts: a spelling test)
  • Explain that each part of the circle is 25%: add 25 + 25+ 25+ 25 =100
  • Take one- fourth of the circle and cut in half to show and elicit about 12%
  • In pairs, have children cut circles into fourths; and one- fourth into two pieces to show 12%
  • Further cut one of those pieces into two equal pieces and elicit 6%
  • Explain that of all the land on earth this 6% is the amount of rain forest
  • Explain that every minute, 50 acres of forest is being destroyed ; the size of Pennsylvania destroyed every year
  • Do an imagery during the minute as students close their eyes

Imagine the school and playground not here and the entire land is thickly covered with many trees, so thick that you cannot see the sky. It's hot, you are dripping wet from the fresh rain that just fell. Everything smells so clean. Take a long deep breadth and enjoy the oxygen- rich air. You start to walk on the soft fallen leaves, watch out! don't step on the ant hill. You keep on walking, hear the birds sing, look at that beautiful parrot, what vivid colors! I hear another sound, what is it? a bull- dozer, no, many ! in the rain forest! Nooooooooo! I can't believe it. Run! you"ll get hit by a tree that has taken hundreds of years to grow. The bull-dozers are killing the trees. Look the animals are running, their homes are being chopped down. What shall I do?

  • Give students an opportunity to speak


Lesson locates the rain forests of the world and briefly integrates the concept of the earth's rotation and revolution around the sun

GROUPING- whole class and small groups

TIME- 40 minutes

PROPS- large world map depicting the rain forests, student copies, globe, light source, reading a map page

  • Model the earth's movements around the sun
  • Elicit that the area receiving direct sunlight is at the center between the poles at the bulging middle
  • Have several children demonstrate using the globe and light source
  • Illustrate on the chalkboard or chart paper
  • Show the students the rain forest area on a flat map
  • Distribute students' copies and instruct them to color the forests green
  • Elicit the continents that have forests
  • Distribute the read a map page and have students work in pairs to complete
  • Add to KWL chart about what we learned

* Chart should be large (bulletin board) and in a prominent place in the classroom


Locate countries or Central America and focus on the Mayans

GROUPINGS -two or three manageable reading groups

TIME-50 minutes

PROPS--access to the web, map of the world, copies of The Three Brothers and The Singing Toad, map of the Mayans

  • Group students according to ability level; higher ability students can read use the web to access more information when finished reading silently
  • Direct reading approach with the lower ability students
  • Whole Class- after reading, pose questions:

1. Is this a true story?

Elicit that it is a folktale and that it was passed down through the generations

2. How do you know?

  • Tell the children that the Mayans were one group of many who lived in Mexico a long time ago and that present day Mexicans are Indians or part Indian
  • Review that Columbus called these people Indians because he thought he had landed on India.
  • Share facts about the Mayan house
  • Share facts about the Mayan food
  • Create a visual diagram--a Venn diagram to compare and show contrast


abobe- mud bricks-thatch love corn house-wood, brick

speak Spanish and Indian live in N.A. many cultures, religions

white clothing same needs apartments

have homes,clothes English


  • Reiterate the basic needs of all humans and stress our similarities and welcome the differences


Introduce the Mayan way of doing math

GROUPINGS-- Whole class, pairs


PROPS--Mayan Math sheet, chalkboard

  • Revisit the Arabic Number System based on 10
  • Teach the Spanish numbers 1-10
  • Introduce the Mayan Number System

1. based on 20

2. zero was represented by a sort of shell- shaped -like a football

3. ones were shown as dots

4. fives were shown as straight tines

  • Create simple math problems using this system and have children work in pairs to solve
  • Distribute handout of Mayan math

Add all new knowledge to KWL chart


Introduce the Yanomani of Brazil

GROUPINGS-- whole class

TIME- 45 minutes each

PROPS-- reading passage - "The People Of The Rain Forest", map of S.A., web access--bookmark this site for future reference and the protection of children

  • Tell the children that they will read about people who live in the rain forests of Brazil
  • Indicate on map the largest country of S.A. also point out the Amazon River
  • Introduce some vocabulary words such as Amerindians; native; indigenous
  • Have children read out loud; call on as many children as possible
  • Ask as many questions to access understanding

1. Who are the indigenous people of the rain forest?

2. In what country do the Yanomani live?

3. What major belief do Ameridians share in common?

4. Name three products of the rain forest?

5. What does it mean to raid the rain forest for goods?

6. Is there a tone or feeling in this passage?

7. What can you do to save the rain forests?

  • At this point access the web at to obtain information on the different companies that are hurting the people of the forest and the forest itself
  • Generate a list of "How to save the rain forest?"
  • Find an organization that you can join and follow up on activities to help save the forests


Add new information learned to KWL chart; cross out any mis-information


Children will get a sense of the deforestation that is taking place in the forest

GROUPINGS-- whole class, individualize

TIME--45 minutes each

PROPS--globe, map of Australia, sentence strips, chart paper, markers, Big book,"Where The Forest Meets The Sea" and several small books

  • Have the children seated comfortably around you on the carpet area
  • Invite them to look at the front and back covers of "Where The Forest Meets The Sea".
  • Talk about the author and the illustrator
  • Ask:

1. What do you see?

2. What do you think the story is about?

  • Read the story in its entirety with enthusiasm and interest
  • Invite the children to express their reactions
  • Ask:

1. What is your favorite part?

2.What illustration do you like best?

3. How do you feel about the ending?

4. Does this story remind you of something? What?

  • What happened first, next and last?
  • Print on sentence strips and hang on wall
  • Do a picture story of the main ideas --graphically create pictures to tell the main ideas
  • Read the story a second time and elicit the meanings of the vocabulary from the context clues

1. reed

2. creek

3. aboriginal

  • " But will the forest still be here when we come back?"
  • Look at the superimposed pictures of the modern world and the forest
  • What do you think it means?
  • I observe..........
  • Ask the children to close their eyes and imagine what the forest will like years from now
  • I imagine...........
  • The children will write these revelations and illustrate them as Now and Then
  • Assemble a book; share with other classes

Add new knowledge to KWL chart


The children will compare amount of rainfall in a city of the forest to that of their town.

GROUPINGS-- whole class

TIME--45 minutes

PROPS--access to yahoo or USA Today on the internet; two large graphs to chart a month or two of precipitation

  • Prior to lesson, bookmark the appropriate site to access weather in a rainforest town and the area of your school
  • Chart the amount of precipitation on appropriate chart
  • After a few days, compare amounts of rainfall
  • Compare after a month
  • Conclude that the rainforest gets a lot of rain; be sure graphs indicate this; you may need to chart for a longer period of time
  • Read "Rain Player" by David Wisniewski
  • Discuss the need of some cultures to explain nature
  • Follow up with some other examples of "why" stories and encourage the children to write one


The children will learn to empathize with the people of the rain forest, be able to do things at home to save the forest, its people, and at the same time make decisions to save the earth.

GROUPINGS-- whole class

TIME--45 minutes

PROPS--internet at

video -Earth at Risk ,chart paper, marker

  • Initiate a discussion "How can we here at home help the people of the rain forest?"
  • List the ideas or things to do on chart paper
  • Organize the lists [ home] [yard] [school] [in car] [on vacation] [when shopping]
  • View the video--Earth at Risk
  • Add other things to do to preserve the earth
  • Access the web at
  • Add to list the things that third graders can do to conserve the earth
  • Introduce the word boycott
  • Access the web at
  • Children can work in groups of three to organize fundraising events to raise awareness [contact RAN for help and support materials]
  • Make many posters depicting as many of the things to do to preserve the forest and people and post throughout the school


The children will compare and contrast the lives of the Ituri Rain Forest People and understand how we all need to be concerned about the whole human family. They will also engage in activities that will advocate helping and participating in an action plan to help the indigenous people.

GROUPINGS: whole class; individual

TIME: 2 -50 minute periods

PROPS: map of the world, chart paper, colored markers, access to the internet

  • Elict where Zaire is
  • Locate Zaire on the map of Africa
  • Access Forest of Central Africa on the web at
  • Show the students a large bowl to explain the term "basin", before reading passage
  • Have these key questions on chart paper prior to accessing next site

1. What are the two main groups of people in the Ituri rain forest?

2. How are they different?

3. What do we have in common with the rain forest people?

  • Pair children (at least one reader on level) and distribute copies
  • Children will read as pair to understand the Efe and the Lese Dese people
  • Have a Venn diagram (three circles interconnecting to show) ready to chart the new information comparing and contrasting these people with us
  • Be sure the children visually see the similarities
  • Ask: "What can we do to help us?" (show the earth as a whole, rather than parts, we need to act locally and think globally but also to help globally)
  • Chart ideas
  • Access web site at
  • Teacher reads this passage of young Alika
  • Stimulate a discussion about this
  • Access internet site at
  • Visit the multigallery to view pictures of school children, village life, the environment, and other aspects about these two peoples and add to Venn Diagram
  • Model a letter to this school
  • Direct children to write a leter each to the Ituri People to describe a typical school day and ask questions about your curiositiesabout their school day
  • Mail to the fund and begin to plan action strategies

Chart all new information on KWL chart


Baker, Jeannie. Where The Forest Meets The Sea. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1987.

Cameron, Ann. The Most Beautiful Place In the World. New York: Random

House, 1988.

Cherry, Lynn. The Great Kapok Tree. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Javanouch, 1990.

Cobb, Vicki. This Place Is Wet. U.S.A: Walker Publishing Company, 1989.

Franco, Betsy. Mexico : " The Three Brothers and the Singing Toad." Ca.:Evan- Moore Corp.,1993.

Mike, Jan. Opposum And The Great Firemaker. U.S.A: Troll Associates, 1993.

Palacios, Argentina. The Hummingbird King. U.S.A: Troll Associates, 1993.

Talbot H. and Greenberg M. Amazon Diary- Property of Alex Winters. New York:Troll, 1996.

Wisniewski, David. Rain Player. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1991.

Aldis, Rodney. RainForests. New York:Dillon Press, 1991.

Amsel, Sheri. Rain Forests. Texas: Steck- Vaughn Publishers, 1993.

Banks, Martin. Conserving rain Forests. Texas: Steck- Vaughn: 1990.

Jennings, Terri. Tropical Forests. Conn.:Grolier, 1992.

Landau, Elaine. Tropical Rain Forests. New York: Franklin Watts, 1990.

Lewington, Anna. Rain Forest Amerindians. Texas: Steck- Vaughn, 1993.

Morrison, Marion. Brazil- People and Places. New Jersey: Silver Burdett Press, 1988.

Stone, Lynn. People Of The Rain Forests. Florida: Rourker Enterprises Inc.,1989.

Tangley, Laura. Rainforest. New York: Chelsea House Publishers: 1992.

The Spirits Of The Rainforests. Discovery Channel.

Extinction- The Earth At Risk. Pennslyvania: Schlessinger Video Production, 1993.

Acid Rain- The Earth At Risk. Pennsylvania: Schlessinger Video Production, 1993

Rain Forests- The Earth At Risk. Pennslyvania: Schlessinger Video Production, 1993



St. Thomas Aquinas College, 125 Route 340, Sparkill NY 10976-1050