Rainforest Unit Study Day 1

We have just started our newest unit study, and are very much enjoying our exploration of the Tropical Rainforest!

I invite you to follow along with our adventures as I post daily about our activities. I’ll be including my basic lesson plan summaries as well as lots of freebies and resource links throughout the posts, and will have the complete unit available as a single download  in my TeachersPayTeachers store – be sure to follow along as I’ll be giving it away to one follower at the end of the unit!

This is a brief summary of the topics we will be covering in this unit:

rainforest cover

I use the free unit study planner available HERE to plan out all of our units.


Brainstorm Rainforests: What do we know?
Introduce the 4 Layers of the Rainforest
Introduce Animals of the Rainforest (pt 1)
Rainforest Sounds

Magic Treehouse Afternoon in the Amazon (Audiobook)
Way Up high in the Tall Green Tree by Jan Peck

rf outfits

Once the girls donned their ‘rainforest explorer’ outfits, we started our day by brainstorming what they already knew about tropical rainforests.

rf brainstorm

To introduce the layers of the rainforest,  we made a collapsible display by taping 3 file folders together, drawing and labeling one layer on each section (see image below).

rf poke plate

After learning a bit about them, we discussed the amount of sunlight that reaches each layer and did a fun hands-on demonstration. They had a lot of fun poking holes in 4 paper plates to represent the amount of sunlight that shines through the leaves (tons of holes for the emergent layer, a few less in the canopy layer, substantially fewer for the understory, and only a handful for the forest floor). We then darkened the room and used a flashlight to show how much light shined through each plate!

While the room was dark, we all laid down on the floor and closed our eyes while listening to the sounds of the rainforest on Anton Hughes’ “Relaxation & Meditation with Music & Nature: Amazon Rainforest“. We discussed what we heard, what imagery it inspired, and what emotions it evoked. They both enjoyed it so much that they asked to leave it on longer than I’d planned. And so the sounds of the Amazon Rainforest became our background noise while we continued on with our day.

To wrap up our morning, they sorted some of our wild animal figurines by whether or not they are found in the tropical rainforest, and spent some time acting out their favourites!

 rf animal sort pic

Overall it was a great start to our unit – don’t forget to check back and see what adventures we get up to on Day 2!

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