We have spent the last month working our way through My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures unit concerning the Brazilian Rain forest. After a month of science lessons you would think our children would be able to at least answer some basic questions.
You would think by now I would realize that our children do not do well with straight book centered work. They need hands on lessons in order to truly understand lessons. This month we decided to complete a diorama of the Rain Forest in order to cement the material into their heads.
I went BIG for this diorama!
Standard tri-fold science fair board
4 foam boards (the floors)
7 cardboard paper towel rolls (tree trunks)
Green ribbons (Vines)
Plastic animals and insects.
I measured the "floors" of the diorama using the cardboard paper towel rolls. At the top of each roll I marked the side flaps of the tri-fold board. I cut through the side flaps to make a slot for the foam boards to slide through. After installing the two floors we taped the bottom and top on as well.
The girls then took total control of the project. They had to research what objects went in each location. This included what animals lived in each level, where the majority of the leaves were located, where fruit would be found, and where that pesky 7th paper towel roll "tree truck" went (the emergent level), what the forest floor looked like, etc.
Listening to the girls work together to complete the research and assembly of the diorama was a blessing to me. I had intended for the diorama project to take 4 days. Instead they worked so well together that they finished in one afternoon. We still have two weeks of Rain Forest lessons to complete and will be using this diorama as a visual aid while completing our readings. This project has been so much fun I think we will have to make a diorama for all of the biomes we are studying this year!