Thursday, October 1, 2015

Science Class: Rainforests

Mapping rainforest locations

Determining rainforest plant life cycles in different rainforests
Day 1: Water Cycle and Rainforest Products
For the water cycle, the kids put on a play, each taking a different role in the rainforest life cycle (the Atlantic, the Amazon, a Kapok tree, clouds, and air. They each had both action to do (moving "water" (pompoms) through the cycle) and a line to say (i.e. "pre-ci-pi-tate!) In the rainforest products section, we familiarized ourselves with a number of different products that come from the rainforest and then attempted to match the product (rubber, chewing gum, quinine, etc.) to a photo of the plant, identifying if the product comes from the bark, seed, root, or leaf.
Day 2: Rain Forest locations and Plant Life Cycle
The rainforest locations exercise involved multiple maps, each of which indicated a different element of what defines a rainforest: temperature, precipitation, soil type, and plant diversity. They they used the maps to predict the location of rain forests, comparing their predictions to action rain forest global maps. (The biggest surprise is that rain forest soil is poor in nutrients). This involved good map/legend reading skills, which carried over from Sophia's geography classes last term. The plant life cycle lesson was in the form of a game in which we individually drew cards from a bag in an attempt to complete a plant life cycle from a particular rainforest location, as shown o the game guide. Impact cards made the game more complicated and involved both negative human affects (deforestation) and positive human effects (sustainable use, protected areas). The cards had to be played in an order that helped us to think about the various roles of diverse species in different rainforests, identifying trees/flowers, pollinators, fruit, and dispersers.
Next time: Building a borneo glider and playing a game called "Conservation Island."

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