When we designed our own science curriculum for this year I intended each unit to only last a month. That was until we started working on biomes. It quickly became evident that a month just wasn't going to be long enough. Instead we have dedicated two months to this unit; one biome per week with a week for a final project. I also intended to save up all my unit materials and photos and publish them in one blog post....then I realized it would be a MASSIVE post and probably more than a bit overwhelming. So I reevaluated and decided to do one post per biome. Seems simpler and less overwhelming to me!
We decided to start with the Rainforest biome. I figured it had enough interesting facts and animals to keep the kids attention.
I started out pulling facts from Duckster and then turning them into bite sized nuggets of information. I have found that throwing too much at them all at once means they retain less and less as the days go by. I started off discussing the difference between food chains and food webs. I found this rainforest food web graphic to add to their notebooks....sorry I can't at the moment remember where I found it! If I remember I will add the link.
Education.com has free ecosystem printables available. I just keep my worksheet printing to the 10 per month limit to keep it free.
National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia. Seriously it is amazing! I would expect no less from National Geographic. We were able to check out our copy from the library and just keep renewing it this month. It has every animal you can think of and the kids LOVE looking through it trying to match animals up with their ecosystems.
The Magic Tree House Afternoon on the Amazon with research guide at our local library. Our 8yr old LOVES this series and was more than happy to read and research any subject that Jack and Annie were involved in. The research guide goes very in depth and is a great asset.
No rainforest unit would be complete without a trip to the zoo to see the actual animals. I think my favorite was the poisonous dart frogs. Something about all those bright colors makes me want to pick them up every time. I obviously would not have lived long on my own in the rainforest!
Over all I think we had a very good week studying the rainforest and I think the kids really retained a lot of the information. Total for the entire unit was $0. We used our zoo membership and were gifted free aquarium tickets for our field trips and our local library for our books. If you decide to study the rainforest I would love to hear about your units!