Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

Teachers.Net Lesson Plans

#84. Rainforest

Science, level: Elementary
Posted by Wendy L. Sternagle (
Materials Required: 12" x 18" gray bogus paper, tempera paint, brushes, water, newsprint and pencils for sketches, oil pastels
Activity Time: 2 hours

Motivation and Research:
When students enter room, they hear a rainforest tape playing with actual rainforest sounds (waterfalls, animal cries, bird calls, and thunderstorms). The room should be filled with posters, pictures, books, and magazines of rainforest scenes and animals. Previously to this, students would view several videos concerning the rainforest; they would see videos about the wildlife and plants, products from the rainforest, and the current plight of the rainforest. The classroom or science teacher could teach most of the science portion of this project, while the art teacher could stress the design in natural surroundings and the art portion of this lesson. Another great resource is the CD-ROM entitled Amazon Trail by MECC. Students love the challenge of the expedition through the Amazon River while also viewing the animals and plants from the various areas and levels.

Art Activity:
I. Students will chose one animal from the rainforest that they would like to draw.
II. Students will sketch this animal very large on the paper, using all the paper space. Remind students to be more concerned with composition and space than details at this point.
III. Students will then draw their animal on good bogus paper ( or any absorbent paper).
IV. Students will use oil pastels to color in their animal, using color blending to achieve natural hues and patterns.
V. Students will sketch in the background for their rainforest animal using the knowledge they have acquired from their previous research.
VI. Students will use tempera paint to paint in the background of their painting. Students will mix their own realistic colors.

Alternate Lesson Idea:
A wonderful way to culminate a unit on the rainforest, is for students to create their own wall mural. Fifth grade students in my art classes researched, planned, and painted a large wall mural on the school walls. They collaborated ideas and learned to cooperate in the group project. The mural was a true success, not only for them artistically, but also personally. They received much press and publicity about their mural, and they seemed very proud of their accomplishments. To commemorate the event, a brass wall plaque was displayed with the students' names and the date, and board members and administration were invited to a tea with the art students to unveil their accomplishment.

Science objectives:
I. Students will become aware of the animals in the rainforest, and they will be able to describe relationships between organisms (habitats)
II. Students will evaluate how societal decisions about technology and progress may impact the survival of various species.
III. Students will prepare /perform individual and or group projects.
IV. Students will be able to label layers of the rainforest and place animals in the correct areas.

Art objectives:
I. Students will become aware of the design in nature.
II. Students will draw large to use paper space.
III. Students will create sketches until they have a good composition.
IV. Students will use oil pastels to create a blended color usage.
V. Students will use learn to mix paints to create realistic colors for background.
VI. Students will use expression to create their animal in their own style.