What's Goin' Down?

6, 7, 8

Learners will identify the concerns pertaining to the world’s rain forests and be able to locate them throughout the world.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • what it is that makes a forest a “rainforest.”
  • identify the location of the world’s rainforests and patterns associated with the location of the world’s rainforest.
  • compare and contrast a Temperate Rainforest and a Tropical Rainforest.
  • identify some of the concerns for the preservation of the “rainforests” that are evident from their readings.
  • A blank outline map of the world
  • Desk atlas one per learner
  • Green and Blue colored pencils for each learner
  • One piece of large white construction paper per pair of learners
  • Four assorted colored markers per team of four learners
  • Rainforest A (Handout One)
  • Rainforest B (Handout Two)
  • What Did You Learn Overhead (Handout Three)
  • A double circle Venn Diagram projection with the headings: Temperate Rainforests, Common Characteristics,Tropical Rainforests
  • World Map (Handout Four)


  1. Anticipatory Set: Display Rainforest photographs around the room. Ask learners if they have ever had an opportunity to visit a place that may have looked like what they see in the photographs. If not, would they like to explore places like that? Tell learners that over the next several days they will be embarking on a journey into the world of rainforests. Ask them to brainstorm what they might need to know before beginning their journey. Write their responses on a display board. If they do not come up with the need to know “where they are located”, suggest that they also include this on the list of things to know and use this question to begin the lesson activities.

  2. Distribute a copy of the World Map (Handout Four) and a desk atlas to each learner. Have the learner begin by placing the following latitude lines on their World Map: Tropic of Cancer, Equator, and Tropic of Capricorn. Once these lines have been placed on the World Map, instruct learners to take out their green colored pencil. Display the overhead listing the areas of Rainforest A (Handout One). Instruct learners to use their atlas to locate the places listed on the overhead and put a green ‘x’ on their world map to represent those place names. (At this point, do not mention to the learners that they are locating tropical rainforest.)

  3. Once the learners have identified the areas on the World Map ask them why they think they might have marked these areas or what they think these marks on the map represent. (Answer: Rainforests)

  4. Assign the learners to work in groups of four. Once the groups have been established have the learners pair off and giving each learner a different color marker and a piece of large white construction paper ask, “What do these areas have in common?” Set the timer for about 3-4 minutes. Partners will pass the large white construction paper back and forth, stating something to add to the list, record it and then giving it to their partner to do the same.

  5. At the end of the allotted time, the partners will share their responses with the other pair at their table. Have teams share by having one partner read one thing off the list, if the other pair has the same thing they underline it, if not they add it to their list. They then pass their recorder board to their partner and wait for the other pair at their table to take a turn. Once completed have the learners share with the total group, what commonalities they came up with and announce that what they just did was to identify a Tropical Rainforest

  6. Show some photos of a tropical rainforest (Tropical rainforest pictures can be viewed and downloaded from web sites: i.e. http://www.terragalleria.com/pictures-subjects/tropical- rainforests/picture.tropical-rainforests.npsa3789.html)

  7. Instruct the learners to return to their partner with their World Map and this time using a blue marker, they are to locate the areas listed on Rainforest B (Handout Two) and put on ‘x’ on these locations.

  8. When completed, ask if anyone knows what physical features could be found in these areas. (If the learners are not able to answer this question don’t tell them (or confirm) the answer quite yet- Temperate Rainforest)

  9. Show some photographs of a temperate forest, which clearly look different from those displayed representing the tropical rainforest.(Some of temperate rainforest pictures can be viewed and downloaded from web sites: i.e. http://www.terragalleria.com/pictures-subjects/ temperate-rainforests/)

  10. Ask the learners to consider how these pictures are different from the first (tropical) pictures. Explain there are two types of rainforest and while they have many characteristics in common, they also have differences. (Some learners might ask why Chile is on this list rather than the tropical list. Response: elevation and latitude both play a role in climate)

  11. Using the computers, instruct learners to open the following web page: http://www.mbgnet.net/sets/rforest/index.htm and to read through this article in order to get an idea of what are some of the similarities and differences between a temperate and tropical rain forest. Or, in advance, print and copy the article and distribute it for the students to read. Have the learners complete a Venn Diagram by taking turns adding information. They may refer to the photographs and back to the information from the web page while determining their answers.

  12. To conclude this lesson, instruct the learners to individually complete and hand in What Did I Learn (Handout Three).


The learner’s ability to identify and locate areas on a world map, their research skills, and the level of their involvement in the group discussions and activities form the basis for their assessment in this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Define <i>stewardship</i> as a trust of common resources held by a community for citizens.