June 29, 2015

A Rain Forest Unit Study and Lapbook w/Tropical Parrot Craft

Exploring the rain forest is an adventure I'd love to do. In like a bubble. Because there are a lot of things there that can hurt or eat me (LOL). Instead, I choose to explore the rain forest through books. I was able to share my love of the rain forest with the boys using this month's Poppins Book Nook theme: Forest and Woods. We did a unit study using the book The Great Kapok Tree as our primary resource and had fun creating a lapbook to share our new knowledge.
Rain Forest Unit Study with Lapbook and Tropical Parrot Craft

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I had so much fun pulling together the materials for our study this month. Since we are out on summer break, we are only doing light schooling, which means that a unit study on rain forests worked perfectly! I will share with you the books we read, the lapbook we created, the craft we made, and then the printable I designed that all revolve around this topic. I hope you get inspired!

Our Books

by Lynne Cherry

One day, a man exhausts himself trying to chop down a giant kapok tree. While he sleeps, the forest’s residents, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe, whisper in his ear about the importance of trees and how "all living things depend on one another" . . . and it works.

This book is so beautiful and lush with the fabulous illustrations. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was going to be our spine for our unit study. The book sets up an introduction to the rain forest brilliantly by talking about the different layers, the locations of rain forests, and then sharing several different animal species living in the rain forest through the plot of the book. The boys loved the story right from the start and eagerly examined every page to see what they could find hiding in the paintings. 

We came back to this book several times over the course of our study, to review what we had learned and see how it applied to the book. 

Afternoon on the Amazon (Magic Tree House #6)
Mary Pope Osbourne

Vampire bats and killer ants?

That's what Jack and Annie are about to run into when the Magic Tree House whisks them away to the Amazon River. It's not long before they get hopelessly lost. Will they be able to find their way back to the tree house? Or are Jack and Annie stuck forever in the rain forest?

After we had spent a day learning about the rain forest, I read Afternoon on the Amazon out loud while the boys ate their lunch. We paused several times to talk about what was going on in the book and how it related to things we had learned. There were several tie ins that even Baby Britches was able to volunteer information. This was actually their first experience with a Magic Tree House book, and I think they really enjoyed it and will be interested in reading another one.

by Jean Craighead George

Doomsday — It is dawn, and young Tepui makes his way through the rain forest. He treasures his tropical homeland and all of its wildlife, from the giant Coco de Mono tree to the tribe of playful monkeys to the colorful treetop birds. But today is doomsday for Tepui's beloved rain forest. Eleven bulldozers and four trucks will soon arrive to level the forest. Tepui is desperate to stop them, and there's just one way he can do it. He must discover a butterfly no one has ever seen -- by the end of the day.

This was a great book to read pieces of for the boys. It fit perfectly with talking about the problem with destroying the rain forest and to give a broader picture about what the rain forest is like to someone living in it. We might read the whole book later, but for now, I just wanted pieces to give them an idea on the reasons for taking care of the forest.

Jungle (Eyewitness Books)
by Theresa Greenaway

Discover life in the tropical rain forest--from the exotic birds in the tree tops to the millions of insects on the forest floor

Jungle is a great book to share even more information about the world of the tropical rain forest. We all loved the brilliant photos of the creatures making the rain forest their home and the extra tidbits of information. This book helped us learn more about the rain forest layers, seed dispersal, hidden dangers, the homes animals and insects make, medicines and other products that comes from the rain forest, as well as famous explorers. I love the Eyewitness Books series because they really help expand whatever you are studying, especially when it relates to things in nature. The boys continue to look through this book because they just love all the photos.

Animals of the Rain Forest
by Windows On Nature

Full of fascinating animal facts and stunning illustrations, this charming introduction to the wildlife of the rain forests will amaze and delight every young reader.

This is one of the books that I went through with Baby Britches. He loved all the animals and enjoyed having me read about them. Though not available on Amazon, we found this book at the library and I hope you can too, because it is a good one. The window cutout is a very cute way to present the animals.

There are so many other books about the rain forest that would be great for unit study, but these were the ones I found at our library that worked perfectly for what I wanted.

Our Activities

Our primary activity over the course of our study was to have each boy make a lapbook. I love lapbooks, but it had been awhile since I had the boys make one. We all had a great time putting them together and they will be able to pull the out to look out over and over again. Here are some photos of our lapbook sessions:

Locating South America, Brazil and the Amazon River

Baby Britches working on coloring his frogs for this frog match

Adding in the real life photos

Matching the types of lines in his booklet with the lines he sees on the trees in the forest
Rain Forest Lapbook
Complete lapbooks
You can see that I kept some of their things the same, and others different. It worked very well and with all the materials out there it was easy to pick what worked for each boy.

Our materials for completing the lapbooks:
*Magic School Bus: In the Rain Forest episode

Our Tropical Parrot Craft

Since Baby Britches favorite animal from our unit study was the toucan, I decided that we would do a parrot craft to finish off our week. I used the pretty parrot template from I Heart Crafty Things for the bird body, beak and feet. I added the streamers for wings and tail like was suggested on this parrot craft by Ramblings of a Crazy Woman, to make our fun and colorful parrots.
Tropical Parrot Craft by Farm Fresh Adventures

*Template from I Heart Crafty Things for body, feet, and beak
*Colored construction paper or cardstock
*Colorful crepe streamers
*Googly Eyes
*Glue, Scissors, Tape

1. Print the template on paper and trace onto construction paper, or print template on colored cardstock. 

2. Cut out the body, beak and feet (x2). Attach to the beak and feet to the body.

3. Trim at least 2 colors of streamers about 8" long for wings and at least 12" for tail. 

4. With Scissors, make slit for the wing streamers and for the tail streamers. Put each set of streamers together and pinch end and then pull it through the appropriate slit about 1". Tape down.

5. Glue on googly eye. 

Baby Britches wanted TWO sets of wings, so I just attached some completely on the back of his bird. Little Britches wanted to give the bird a very long tail, so we did streamers about 3 feet long for his birds tail.


I hope can take a moment and check out some of the posts from my Poppins Book Nook co-hosts to see what they did for their Forest and Woods books.

We had so much fun learning about the rain forest and it was great to get back into a unit study again! Later this week, I will be sharing links to the new rain forest themed printables that I made for the boys, that I think you will enjoy. I hope you will check out some of my previous Poppins Book Nook posts for storybook and activity ideas, and then tune in next month when we dive into exploring famous composers!

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