Marie Curie Math & Science Center




  • Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design

Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.

  • Standard 2: Information Systems

Students will access, generate, process and transfer information using appropriate technologies.

  • Standard 3: Mathematics

Students will understand mathematics and become mathematically confident by communicating and reasoning mathematically, by applying mathematics in real-world settings, and by solving problems through the integrated study of number systems, geometry, algebra, data analysis, probability and trigonometry.

  • Standard 4: 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.

Content Standards (what you want your students to know or be able to do).


  • The students will use scientific inquiry to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing, creative process.
  • Information technology is used to retrieve, process, and communicate information and as a tool to enhance learning.
  • Students use mathematical modeling/multiple representation to provide a means of presenting, interpreting, communicating, and connecting mathematical information and relationships.
  • Students use measurement in both metric and English measure to provide a major link between the abstractions of mathematics and the real world in order to describe and compare objects and data.
  • Human decisions and activities have had a profound impact on the physical and living environment.


  • Students will ask "why" questions in attempts to seek greater understanding concerning objects and events they have observed and heard about.
  • Students will question the explanations they hear from others and read about, seeking clarification and comparing them with their own observations and understandings.
  • Students will use a variety of equipment and software packages to enter, process, display and communicate information in different forms using text, tables, pictures and sound.
  • Students will access needed information from printed media, electronic data bases, and community resources.
  • Students will construct tables, charts and graphs to display and analyze real-world data.
  • Students will use multiple representations (simulations, manipulative materials, pictures, and diagrams) as tools to explain the operation of everyday procedures.
  • Students will collect and display data.
  • Students will use statistical methods such as graphs, tables, and charts to interpret data.
  • Students will describe how living things, including humans, depend upon the living and non-living environment for their survival.


  • The students will know what a rain forest is like.
  • The students will know the names and be able to describe the four layers of the rain forest.
  • The students will be able to identify the tropical rain forests of the world.
  • The students will know how many of the products that we use come from the rain forest.
  • The students will understand the temperature and rainfall amounts in a tropical rain forest by making graphs.


Power Point Presentation - Layers of the Rain Forest

Mural of the Rain Forest

Rain Forest Diorama

Class Book on the Rain Forest

Rain Forest Party

Decorate the classroom as a tropical rain forest



Day 1: Begin the unit on the rain forest with a KWL chart. What is a rain forest?
Grouping: Whole class or small groups

Time: 40 minutes

Props: Large chart paper, easel, markers, trade book: Rain Forest by Helen Coucher


  • The purpose of the lesson is to understand what a rain forest is like.
  • Write "WHAT IS A RAIN FOREST?" on the chart. This is a brainstorming activity inviting students to describe a rain forest as well as they can. Write all the appropriate answers under the original question on the chart.
  • The second question is, "WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT RAIN FORESTS?" The students questions will be recorded on the chart.
  • The teacher will then read aloud the book Rain Forest by Helen Coucher.
  • Following the reading, the students' responses to the third question, "WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT A RAIN FOREST?" will be recorded on the chart.
  • The students' responses to the third question will be added to the chart throughout the unit.

 Days 2 & 3 Create a rain forest environment in the classroom.

Grouping: Whole, small groups or individual

Time: Two - 40 minute periods

Props: Tempera paint, crepe paper, construction paper, pictures of animals and plants, Video Fern Gully


  • Set up an area in the classroom for a data bin about the rain forest. The children can bring any information about rain forests to share with the class.
  • Read to the class the poem, "In a Tropical Rainforest."
  • Show the class the video "Fern Gully."
  • Discuss animal and plant life shown in the video.
  • Brainstorm ideas about how to transform the classroom into a tropical rain forest.
  • Have the whole class discuss what they might do.
  • Divide the class into groups and assign areas to be decorated.

Day 4: To teach students that scientists divide the rain forest into several layers, each providing a niche for specific plants and animals.

Grouping: Whole or small groups, individual

Time: 40 minutes

Props: Index cards, markers, posters, Power Point, computer, CD Rom The Rainforest, Zoo Guides


  • The students will make a stand-up display showing the layers that make up the rain forest.
  • Show class a poster of the 4 layers of the rain forest.
  • Teach class the song Layers in the Forest. Sing this song to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It."
  • Students will create a Power Point Project showing the four layers of the rain forest and the plants and animals that live in each layer.

Days 5 & 6: The students will create a rain forest mural.

Grouping: Whole and small groups

Time: Two 30 minute periods

Props: Paint, crayon, cut paper, white mural paper, CD Rom The Rainforest, Zoo Guides, CD Rom Encarta, computer, paint brush, Internet, Print Shop, The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry


  • Read The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry.
  • Brainstorm with the whole class to determine the overall look of the mural.
  • Discuss materials to be used.
  • Divide the class into seven groups, assigning one task to each group:

Group 1 - background
Group 2 - trees

Group 3 - other plants for all layers

Group 4 - animals in the emergent layer

Group 5 - animals in the canopy layer

Group 6 - animals in the understory

Group 7 - animals in the forest floor


  • The group is responsible for doing any needed research to make their part of the mural more accurate. The students have to coordinate their product with the other groups.
  • The students will use Encarta and The Rainforest CD Rom to get information about the plants and animals that live in each layer of the rain forest. Material from the Data Bin and books can be used.
  • Students can use the internet web site "" to get more information.
  • Students can use the Print Shop to help with some pictures and make banners.
  • Scenes can be painted from the book The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry.

Day 7

Where are rain forests? To teach students that rain forests exist around the world in a broad belt near the equator. To identify the areas in the world where rain forests are found.

Grouping: Whole or individual

Time: 40 minutes

Props: World map, Amazon Trail CD Rom MECC Publisher, colored markers or crayons, Encarta, CD Rom Rainforests, RE Media, Inc.


  • Give each student a copy of the world map.
  • Tell students that the equator is an imaginary ring that goes around the middle of the earth. Have the students locate the equator on the map.
  • Ask students to locate the rain forests, which are indicated by tree symbols. Ask, "ARE THERE ANY RAIN FOREST AT THE TOP OR BOTTOM OF THE MAP?" Where are all of the rain forests in the world? Help students observe that the rain forests are all near the equator.
  • Tell students that in the tropical regions near the equator, there are no seasons, no summer or winter. The temperature is around 75 or 80 degrees.
  • Have students color the oceans blue and the rain forests green.
  • Ask a student to name the continents or areas of the world where rain forests are found. A globe can also be used.

Amazon Region of South America
Zaire Basin of Central Asia

The huge archipelago that stretches from Southeast Asia to Australia

  • The CD Rom Amazon Trail can be used the explore the animals, plants and people of the Amazon Rain Forest. In this CD Rom, the students will discover the history and ecology of the Amazon, learn about the natural resources of the rain forest, follow maps and navigate the river. This program promotes problem solving and simulation.
  • Students can use Encarta to find out where tropical rain forests are located. There is also a new version - Amazon II: The Rainforest Adventure
  • Exploring Our World - Tropical Forests by Terry Jennings and Marshall Cavendish- is a good source for information on the rain forest.

 Day 8: To make a mini rain forest. To have students make a miniature living "rain forest."

To enable students to observe the climate in their rain forest and to learn about the process of transpiration.

Grouping: Cooperative groups

Time: 40 minutes

Props: Gallon jar with lid

Trowel or a large spoon


Soil or compost

Small plants


Encarta CD Rom


  • The class is divided into several cooperative groups.
  • Each group will be given a copy of directions and materials listed above.
  • Have students observe their rain forests daily. Ask, "DO THE PLANTS NEED TO BE WATERED?" Students will observe that moisture collects inside the jar. Explain that the plants transpire and water vapor passes from the plants into the air. Since the water can't escape from the sealed jar, it falls on the plants as "rain," so that the plants seldom need to be watered.
  • Tell students that the plentiful plant life of the rain forest generates a great deal of moisture, which makes the air humid.
  • The children will learn that the water in the rain forests waters the forest in the same way that the water in the jar waters the little plants.
  • Have students use Encarta to find out the average rain fall in the Amazon Rain Forest.
  • Find the number of inches (centimeters) of rain occurring in a year in a typical rain forest. Make a bar graph comparing the average rainfall for two or three tropical rain forests. This is a good graphing activity.

Day 9

Have students take a survey of rain forest products and make a bulletin board.

Grouping: Whole class and individual

Time: 40 minutes

Props: Survey sheet, old magazine, scissors, Print Shop Deluxe CD Rom


  • Give each student a copy of Treasures from the rain forest.
  • Have students take the survey sheets home where their parents can help them find out which products they have originated in rain forests. The students can bring one or two products to class when they return their surveys. Set up a display table with products from the rain forest.
  • When the survey sheets have been returned, tally the results on a master survey sheet.
  • Post your survey sheet on a bulletin board with a heading such as "RAIN FOREST PRODUCTS THAT WE USE."
  • Print Shop Deluxe CD Rom Program can be used to create this banner.
  • Students can find and cut out magazine pictures of products that come from rain forests.
  • Students can graph products from the rain forests.

Day 10:

Rain Forest Party. Familiarize students with additional rain forest food products.

Grouping: Whole, small and individual

Time: 40 minutes

Props: Print Shop Deluxe

Rain Forest Products

Microsoft Word

Cassette of rain forest sounds


  • Play cassette of rain forest sounds.
  • Use Print Shop Deluxe to create posters and invitations to Rain Forest Party.
  • Create rain forest cookies. See attached recipe.
  • Serve products from the rain forest.
  • Tropical Trail Mix.
  • Cake - in the shape of a rain forest animal.
  • Chocolate drink.
  • Use the Print Shop program to illustrate the menu.

To learn more about the rain forest from someone who lives in a tropical country, write to:
International Pen Friends

P. 0. Box 65

Brooklyn, New York 11229

List several tropical countries with rain forests. Ask if they can provide a pen pal in one of the countries you listed.


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