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Rainforest: Creating Globally Conscious Students

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Keywords: Flip Video, Rainforest, Global Awareness, Global Education, Multiple Intelligences, Technology, Science
Subject(s): Art, Video, Technology, Early Learning, Music, Earth Science, Information Skills, Photography, Science, Journalism
Grade 2
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Conover Road Elem School, Colts Neck, NJ
Planned By: Terry Pilitzer
Original Author: Terry Pilitzer, Colts Neck
Rainforest~Unit Review

Topic: Rainforest~Culminating Lesson
Grade Level: Grade 2
Subject(s): Science and Technology
Length of Lesson: Two forty-minute class periods

Students will be able to apply their knowledge of the rainforest ecosystem to create peer interviews with Flipcams. These interviews will be edited and posted on our district website as well as sites such as www.teachertube.com for students to convey their understanding of:
•The various strata of the rainforest, and the role that each plays in the overall health of the ecosystem.
•The interdependence humans have with the rainforest for health needs.
•The great diversity of the animal kingdom that resides in the rainforest as well as the effect deforestation has on these species.
•How our actions can directly impact the rainforests. Students should be able to persuade others to take simple steps to protect these regions of the world.

New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards~ Science:

Cumulative Progress Indicators (CPI):
5.1.P.C.1 Communicate with other children and adults to share observations, pursue questions, and make predictions and/or conclusions.
5.3.P.B.1 Observe and describe how plants and animals obtain food from their environment, such as by observing the interactions between organisms in a natural habitat.
5.3.2.B.1 Describe the requirements for the care of plants and animals related to meeting their energy needs.
5.3.2.C.2 Identify the characteristics of a habitat that enable the habitat to support the growth of many different plants and animals.
5.3.2.C.3 Communicate ways that humans protect habitats and/or improve conditions for the growth of the plants and animals that live there, or ways that humans might harm habitats.
5.4.P.G.1 Demonstrate emergent awareness for conservation, recycling, and respect for the environment (e.g., turning off water faucets, using paper from a classroom scrap box when whole sheets are not needed, keeping the playground neat and clean).

New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards~Technology:

Cumulative Progress Indicators(CPI):
8.1.4.B.1 Produce a media-rich digital story about a significant local event or issue based on first-person interviews.
8.1.4.C.1 Engage in online discussions with learners in the United States or from other countries to understand their perspectives on a global problem or issue.
8.1.4.E.1 Investigate a problem or issue found in the United States and/or another country from multiple perspectives, evaluate findings, and present possible solutions, using digital tools and online resources for all steps.

Essential Questions:
•How does the rainforest impact our world?
•How do our actions impact the plant and animal life in the rainforest?
•How do the different stratas of the rainforest rely on each other? What would happen to the entire ecosystem if one stratum were compromised?

Enduring Understandings:

•Rainforests are among the most important and yet threatened ecosystems on the planet Earth.
•Rainforests play a crucial role in how the Earth’s environment is affected.
•All human beings are both indirectly and directly affected by the changing conditions of the rainforests. Therefore, humans must make efforts to protect the people and organisms that rely on the rainforest for survival.

Prior to taking part in the culminating lesson, students will know:

•There are four layers, or strata, that make up the rainforest: Forest Floor, Understory, Canopy and Emergent Layer.
•Rainforests serve many different purposes including: providing homes to plants and animals, as well as being a source that leads to many medical advances.
•The essential elements required of human beings to preserve the rainforest.
•Students will be able to identify animals that reside in the rainforest as well as the various threats to their survival.
•Students will have an understanding of the devastating effects deforestation has on the survival of the plants and animals that reside in the rainforest.
•Students will have identified at least ten measures that they may each take individually to help save the rainforests.

Materials Needed:
•Flipcameras (one per pair of students is ideal.)
•Age appropriate non-fiction resources related to the rainforest including books, magazines, web quests, websites, streaming videos, blogs, etc…
•Computers/software that allows students to create graphic organizers about a specific facet of their unit of study.
•Digital cameras and scanners to enhance their graphic organizers with realistic images.

1. Students will revisit the KWL (Know-Want to Know-Learned) chart that was created at the start of the rainforest unit. Students will answer the questions they initially posed based on factual information derived from classroom experiments, readings, and interviews with experts.
2. The “Essential Questions” of the unit will then be posted on the Smart Board:
•How does the rainforest impact our world?
•How do our actions impact the plant and animal life in the rainforest?
•How do the different stratas of the rainforest rely on each other? What would happen to the entire ecosystem if one stratum were compromised?
3. Students will be divided into pairs to create a presentation that demonstrates their understanding of these essential questions as well as to persuade others to be reflective of the scientific research and make simple life changes that may promote a better future for our world’s rainforests.
4. Student pairs will create a presentation using various media (e.g. Power Point; podcast; iMovie; tri-fold display board with digital images; “Ask the Experts” interview panel; musical presentation, etc…) to showcase their complete understanding of the unit objectives.
5. After two days of project planning, these cumulative unit presentations will be recorded using “Flipcam” technology and then posted on our district website as well as on our district’s “Teacher Tube” site for review.

Using a fifteen point rubric, student understanding will be assessed according to their:
1. Knowledge of content matter. (3 points)
2. Retrieval of information from non-fiction resources to make reasonable conclusions.
3. Effective ability to convey understanding using a multiple-intelligences approach. (3 points)
4. Ability to persuade others to make personal changes in support of the rainforest. (3 points)
5. Use of technological resources to enrich their overall presentation. (3 points)

Please note that the children who were featured in this video were NOT prompted and all responses were spontaneous. In addition, the flip video camcorders featured in the video were on loan to us to demonstrate how this technology would enhance and impact this unit overview.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
See lesson plan and video submission
See lesson plan and video submission
Links: Link to SchoolTube
Materials: Whiteboards, Video Cameras, Flip Video, Digital Cameras, Point and Shoot, Microphones, Art Tools, Video Tools, Printers, Batteries, Keyboards, LCD Monitors, Flash/USB Drives, Elementary, Word Processor, Inspiration, Clip Art, Integrating Technology, Early Learning