Amazon Rain Forest Homeschool Unit Study and Lapbooks.
Tropical Rain Forest – Amazon, or Amazonia in South America
The unit on this page will make AT LEAST 3 big lapbooks, but you could make more. So you need to look over everything first to decide what you want in your lapbook/notebook.
The unit was designed to mix and match minibooks from each section. In a nutshell: There is no “ONE” way to do this unit as you have many choices.
The pictures shown in each section are only to give you an idea of where to place them.
Click here to go to the Rain Forest Animals. This page is the main Amazon Rain Forest Unit.
For example, you can take some mini books from the younger section and then some of the minibooks about the rain forest animals and create a whole different notebook or lapbook.
Our pictures illustrate one lapbook for younger children, one lapbook for “just” rain forest animals and one for older ones. The minibooks for the younger lapbook were created with legal size folders in mind and the other two were created with letter size folders in mind.
In a nutshell:There will be more than enough minibooks to keep you making flaps and turning flips. Be sure to look over everything first.
Because the rain forest is all about the vibrant color of the rain forest, a lot of our minibooks are in color. We just felt that we could not do justice to the beautiful creation if didn’t keep some of the color. Where possible, we added black and white. Of course, there is more than enough coloring pages as well. We linked some of the ones we felt were better.
How to navigate this page?
The top section or Part I of this page has facts and information on the rain forests generally and then it focuses on the Amazon Rain Forest in South America.
Here are the objectives/topics we studied to help you plan:
Locations of rain forest, comparison of tropical vs. temperate rain forest, where the name Amazon comes from, ancient people of the Amazons, layers of the rain forest, importance of the rain forest to us and to the animals, deforestation, rain forest measuring (younger), photosynthesis (older and younger), ABC’s of rain forest animals, products of the rain forest (chocolate too), amazon river, why studying the canopy is important (older ones), plants of the rain forest, animal cells, plant cells, scientists, plant labeling (younger), jungle art appreciation through Henri Rousseau, life cycle of kapok tree, amazon-lungs of the world, 5 little monkeys swinging on the tree (younger), rain forest opposites (younger), water cycle (older), 5 Kingdoms of Life (older), animals, animals, animals…phew.. and last but not least appreciation for the Grand Creator who deserves all the praise for such beautiful and fascinating creation that at times left us speechless as we were in awe of the funny, the serious, the deadly and the most beautiful of the rain forest.
- Part II – This section has pages that can be used for Front Covers, Activities or Notebook Pages. This section is mixed for various ages so you can pick and choose what works for you.
- Part III -This section is for the younger child.
- Part IV – This part is for the older child.
PART I – Rain Forest & The Amazon
Exploring the Amazon Rain Forest
In 1914, Theodore Roosevelt – who had been America’s president from 1901 to 1909 decided to explore the Amazon rain forest.
Along with Brazil’s most famous explorer, Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt explored one of the most intimidating tributaries (a river or stream that flows into a larger lake or river) of the Amazon at that time. Rondon (the man known for planting telegraph poles across his native South American country), along with Roosevelt, went on one of the most dangerous journeys that existed in their day. Despite unbelievable hardships they were able to plot one of the longest tributaries of the Amazon.
The name of the expedition was called the Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition of 1913. Cândido Rondon, explored the “River of Doubt,” which only had been discovered on a previous expedition.
The goal was to determine if the river flowed into the Amazon River, which it did via the Aripuana River. Sections of the river have impassable rapids and waterfalls, which hindered the expedition.
Roosevelt and company not only explored the Amazon, but Roosevelt had a river named after him.
The river was a 1000 mile long river and it was called River of Doubt or Rio da Dúvida (later renamed to Rio Roosevelt). The Roosevelt River (Rio Roosevelt, sometimes Rio Teodoro) is a Brazilian river. It begins in the state of Rondonia and winds for about 400 miles (640 km) until it joins the Aripuana River, which then joins the Madeira River, which joins the Amazon.
They didn’t really pack many food supplies because they thought there would be plenty of wild animals to hunt. They were wrong!
They found almost no large animals and the ones they found were hard to spot.
However they were surrounded by millions of acres of edible plants, insects (yum yum…LOL..read down below to see which insects are “good for you”) and other creatures. The explorers ate only the tops of the palms, Brazil nuts and the few small animals they could shoot and kill. By the time they finished and reached civilization again, all of the men were sick and malnourished.(when you don’t get enough of the right food to keep you healthy and strong).
You could say that almost from the start, the expedition was fraught with problems. Insects and disease such as malaria (a blood disease caused by parasites often found in jungle and rain forest environments. It is spread by mosquitoes) weighed heavily on just about every member of the expedition, leaving them in a constant state of sickness, festering wounds and high fevers. The heavy dug-out canoes were unsuitable to the constant rapids and were often lost, requiring days to build new ones.
The food provisions were ill-conceived forcing the team on starvation diets. Natives (the Cinta Larga) shadowed the expedition and were a constant source of concern – the Indians could have at any time wiped out the expedition and taken their valuable metal tools but they chose to let them pass (future expeditions in the 1920s were not so fortunate). One of the camaradas murdered another, while a third was killed in a rapid.
Teddy Roosevelt later wrote a book on the expedition titled Through the Brazilian Wilderness. The story is also recounted in The River of Doubt by Candice Millard.
After Roosevelt returned, some “doubted” he had actually discovered the river and made the expedition. To settle the dispute, in 1927 American explorer George Miller Dyott led a second trip down the river, confirming Roosevelt’s discoveries.
Insects in the Amazon that Roosevelt could have eaten:
Worms – very high in protein, just dig them up, brush them off and squeeze them to get rid of any worm poop. Raw or cooked you can eat them.
Palm grub – is considered a delicacy by the Amazonians. Grubs are soft, worm-like lava of beetles. Palm grubs can be found by putting your ear to the to the trunk of a palm tree rotting on the ground. You can hear them moving around. They are 5 inches long, fat and white with a black head. Slit them, open the back, take off the black head and suck out the insides. Roasted over a fire they are suppose to taste like bacon.
Beetles and grasshoppers – need to be cooked if they have a hard outer shell as they often carry parasites.
Find your inner EXPLORER and we hope you enjoy this unit!
What is a rain forest?
We like a couple of different definitions: 1)A rain forest is a huge tangle of trees and flowers growing in hot and steamy tropical regions of the world. 2) Rain forests are forested biomes that receive high annual rain fall due to their location. 3) A tropical rain forest is a colorful noisy ecosystem. (An ecosystem is all of the living and non living things in a certain area. It includes plants, animals, soil, weather and water, it is everything). The rainforest is home to thousands of different animals, bird and plants.
It has tall trees and as you can guess from the name, it gets a lot of rain. Most rain forests get more than 80 inches of rain each year. Tropical rain forests cover only about 6 or 7 percent of Earth’s surface. However, they hold more than half of Earth’s plant and animal species. That makes tropical rain forests one of the Earth’s most important biomes.
What is a biome? It is a community of plants and animals living together in a certain region.
What are the rain forest layers?
4 or 5 Layers of the Rain Forest – Which?
A tropical rain forest has four layers of vegetation and life however as show in this picture it can have up to 5 layers.
Tropical rain forests are more vertically complex than temperate rain forests and the distinctness of each layer is arguable.(means open to argument and not really resolved). We went with 4 layers so as to keep it less complicated.
The very top layer is called the emergent layer.The tallest trees in the rain forest get the most sun and rain.
The tops of some of the tallest trees stick up above the main “roof” or canopy layer. These trees can reach heights of 100 to 250 feet. Trees in this layer may get the most sunlight, but they also are exposed to more wind and lots of rain.
Plants that grow at the top of the emergent layer are usually small air plants called ephiphytes. (Ephiphytes definition: Plants that get their nutrition from air, rain and floating dust). Lots of birds, bats, insects, butterflies and even monkeys live in the emergent layer.
The next layer is called the canopy. It is formed by tree branches and leaves. It acts like an umbrella or roof to the rain forest. Trees ranging in height from 98 to 164 feet form this thick layer. That is also why the rain forest is so dark at the bottom. The emergent and and canopy layers receive the most light.Almost 90 percent of the animal species that live in the rain forest live in the canopy, including most bird species. There are also lots of monkeys, sloths, snakes, frogs, insects, lizards that live here. Many of these animals never touch the forest floor.
The next layer is the understory. It is formed by smaller trees like palm trees and strangler figs. Under the canopy are trees with thinner trunks and narrow crowns. This layer receives very little sunlight. Plants in this layer rarely grow very large.This is home to most of the land animals of the rain forest such as jaguars, anteaters, frogs and snakes.
The forest floor or ground is the last layer. Not much sunlight reaches the ground so few plants and animals live here. Less than one percent of the light received by the canopy reaches the forest floor. There is little plant life here. Fungi, lichen, ants, earthworms, termites and bacteria live among the tree roots. They feed on rotten leaves, fruit, animal droppings and branches that fall from above. Creatures like worms and millipedes and ants help the decaying process.
Where are rain forests?
This picture is of the rain forests of the world .
This picture is of the TROPICAL RAIN FORESTS.
You may love my Unit Study Enhancer about Temperate Rain Forests.
This picture is of the TEMPERATE RAIN FORESTS.
Tropical rain forest lie near the equator. What is the equator? Simply put, it is an imaginary line on the Earth’s surface that divides the Earth into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.
Tropical rain forests are in warm areas known as the tropics which is like a band that runs around the middle of the Earth. In this region the sun is very strong and shines about the same amount of time every day all year long making the climate warm and stable.
The tropics extend about 1,622 miles north of the equator to another imaginary line known as the Tropic of Cancer. The same distance to the south of the equator is known as the Tropic of Capricorn.
Five continents have tropical rain forests. Can you name them? 1. North America 2. South America 3. Africa 4. Asia 5. Australia
Why are rain forests so important?
- They keep the earth’s air moist and clean.
- Rain forest climates impact the world as a whole. Due to the way they process moisture, rain forests affect weather patterns in other parts of the world.They also help keep the world’s air clean and slow down the greenhouse effect. (The greenhouse effect is the rise in temperature that the Earth experiences because certain gases in the atmosphere (water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, for example trap energy from the sun. )
- Everyone can enjoy the beauty of rain forest plants and animals.
- The plants and trees give us medicine that can help cure diseases. According to World Habitats by Jane Levy, scientists have not yet tested 99 percent of the rain forest plants. They expect to discover many more medicines.
- If the trees continue to be cut down, most of the animals and plants inhabiting the rain forest will have no other place to live.
- Rain forests help control the temperature by absorbing light and heat.
- Did we mention that the trees take in huge amounts of carbon dioxide and they let out oxygen?
We will only conserve what we love!
Where is the Amazon Rain Forest?
There are few places left in the world where rivers are still unexplored. Where tribes of people live cut off from all contact with the outside world. Where there are thousands of plants and animals that most humans have never seen. The Amazon is that place.
This enormous area that is shaped like a giant saucer covers much of the northern part of the continent of South America.
The Amazon rain forest, or Amazonia covers about 2.4 million square miles. About 60 percent of that is in Brazil. All together there are nine countries that border the Amazon rain forest. Can you name them and locate them?
9 countries that border the Amazon are:
- French Guiana
Look at the map below to locate those countries.
Amazon or Nile– Longest River Controversy.
Which is the longest river? The Nile River in Egypt or the Amazon.
For many years there use to be arguments among scientists about which river was the longest. The Nile has been claimed to be the longest for years.
In the year 2000, scientists from five different countries on a National Geographic Society expedition traced the river’s source to Mt. Mismi. Remember the definition of a river’s source is the point that is the farthest away from the river’s mouth. It also has to have water flowing into the river all year round.
The discovery settled the argument about the river’s length. The Nile measures 4,160 miles (6,470 kilometers) long. But the Amazon officially weighed in at 4,250 miles.
Whats the math? The Amazon is officially 64 miles (104 kilometers) longer than the Nile.
Amazon River Facts
- The Amazon is the longest river in the world- 4,250 (6,840 kilometers) miles long. It begins flowing near the Pacific Ocean then continues all the way across the continent of South America and then it empties out into the Atlantic Ocean.
- It is also the widest river in the world. The mouth of the Amazon River is 200 miles (322 kilometers) wide.
Quick Glance at South America
- Land area: Approximately 6,900,000 square miles
- Estimated population: 366,600,000
- Highest Point: Cerro Aconcagua, Argentina How high? 22,831 feet
- Lowest Point: Laguna Del Carbon, Argentina How low? 344 feet below sea level
- Longest River: Amazon-Ucayali. It is 4,000 miles long.
- Number of countries including dependent territories: 15
- Largest independent country: Brazil
- Largest city: Sao Paulo
Why is the Amazon called the Lungs of the World?
The Amazon Rainforest is not only the largest forest in the world – it is often called the “Lungs of the World”. More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. Rainforests are one of Earth’s oldest continuous ecosystems and play a significant part in the health of our global environment by digesting and converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.
Plants of the Amazon Rain Forest
Thanks to Joe E. Meisel, Ph.D at the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation for his email to me explaining the life cycle of the Kapok Tree.
Thank you for allowing me to add your informative email here!
“This is the natural history of Ceiba trees. The life cycle begins with large white flowers that resemble a shaving brush, or cheerleader’s pom-pom: they are large clusters of white stamens. Most species are pollinated at night by bats and very large moths.
The fertilized flower gradually develops into a large woody capsule about the size of a big potato. Inside, seeds are developing, as is a large amount of cottony fluff. When the dry season is coming to an end (the exact month can vary widely depending on where you are in the tropics), the capsule splits open and wind carries the seeds, not unlike a milkweed, or cottonwood tree.
The fluff floats very well — hence it’s previous use in life jackets — and thus seeds can travel downriver as well, resting on the water’s surface. Once a seed lands on a suitable site, a small seedling germinates. If the seedling is lucky enough to find a spot where there is a good bit of light, then it will start growing up into a mature tree; however, if the seed lands in a very shady part of the forest, it’s development can be arrested for years and years, waiting for some sun.”
Image Credit:George G. Hawxhurst ©California Academy of Sciences
Bromeliads grow on trees or on the forest floor. They are found in North and South America. Some bromeliads are called epiphytes and grow in the rainforest canopy.The most common bromeliad is the pineapple.
Image Credit:Dr. Joseph Doughtery,M.D./ecology.org
All bromeliads have some kind of spiral or whorl leaf center or rosette. The bases of the leaves overlap tightly to form a “miniature pond” or water bowl.The miniature pond can be a habitat to an ant, tadpole or frog, other insects, spiders and worm. Some creatures just come for the water.
AMAZON RIVER BASIN
It is the greatest river in the world because of so many reasons: the volume of water it carries to the sea (approximately 20% of all the freshwater discharge into the oceans), the area of land that drains into it, and its length and width. It is also home to many “extreme” animals of the world.
Image Credit: Glenn and Martha Vargas©California Academy of Sciences
The decorative passion flowers have a unique flower structure, which in most requires a large bee to effectively pollinate. In the American tropics, wooden beams are mounted very near passion fruit plantings to encourage carpenter bees to nest.
The size and structure of flowers of other Passiflora species is optimized for pollination by hummingbirds (especially hermits like Phaethornis) , bumble bees, wasps or bats, while yet others are self-pollinating. Some species are endangered due to unsustainable logging and other forms of habitat destruction. For example, the Chilean Passion Flower (P. pinnatistipula) is a rare vine growing in the Andes from Venezuela to Chile between 2,500 and 3,800 meters altitude, and in Coastal Central Chile, where it occurs in woody Chilean Mediterranean forests.
Image Credit:©Alex V. Popovkin
AMAZON LILY PAD
The largest water lily in the world is the Vitória Régia, a native of the Amazon River basin. Its round leaves attain 2 m in diameter and have a pronounced up turned edge. When floating on the water it can sustain heavy weights, such as rabbit sized animals. When it blooms, its petals are white, often slight pink, with red rims.
Brazilian Legend about the Lily pad
Legend has it that, a long time ago, the Tupis-Guaranis, indigenous people from Northern Brazil, told that every night that moon hid behind the hills far off on the horizon. They used to say that, if the moon could like one single girl, it would transform her into a star of the sky.
One princess, Pajé’s daughter (Pajé being a significant figure of the indigenous people), was impressed with that story. So, at night, when everybody was sleeping and the moon was traveling across the sky, the princess wanted to be a star, so she walked up to the hills and chased the moon, hoping the moon could see her up in the hills.
And so she did, every night, for a very long time.
But the moon did not seem to notice her, even though the crying of the princess could be heard in the distance as well as her sadness and sighs.
One night, the princess saw, in the clear waters of a lake, the image of the moon. The innocent girl wondered if the moon had come down to take her away, so she jumped in the deep waters to join the moon and its lovely young ladies. She was never seen again.
The moon, in return for the beautiful princess’s sacrifice, transformed her into a different star, different from the all the others whose light lit up the night sky. So, the moon transformed the princess into a “Star of the Waters”, whose flower is the “Vitória Régia”.
At that moment, a new plant was born, whose scented white flowers blossom and unfurl only at night. And, when the sun appears in the early morning, the flowers change their color to soft pink.
Image Credit:George G. Hawhurst©California Academy of Sciences
People of the Amazon Rain Forest
Yahua Indian of the Peruvian Rain Forest with his blow gun known as pucunas.
Image Credit: Jialiang Gao peace on earth.org
Yanomami children of the Amazon
Yagua Indians in the Amazon
Image Credit:Glenn and Martha Vargas©California Academy of Sciences
Why study the forest canopy?
H. Bruce Rinker, Ph.D. wrote an article entitled Conservation from the Treetops: The Emerging Science of Canopy Ecology. He helps us to understand how the canopies are still an unexplored area for science. Green mansions, tropical air castles, highways in the trees, and hanging gardens are some of the beautiful metaphors used to describe this community literally on stilts. Why study it? Simply put, it is home to most of the world’s species of animals.
Look down farther on this page for a minibook to use with your middle schooler or high schooler.
What gifts do we receive from the rain forest?
Tropical rain forests yield over 3,000 kinds of fruit, including bananas, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pineapples, figs, avocados, coconuts and mangoes. The vegetables we receive are corn, potatoes and squash. Tropical rain forest plants produce coffee, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, cocoa beans, cinnamon, vanilla and black pepper.
The Pará rubber tree , often simply called rubber tree. It is of major economic importance because its sap-like extract (known as latex) can be collected and is the primary source of natural rubber.
In the wilderness, the tree can reach a height of up to 144 feet (44 m). The white or yellow latex occurs in latex vessels in the bark, mostly outside the phloem. These vessels spiral up the tree in a right-handed helix which forms an angle of about 30 degrees with the horizontal, and can grow as high as 45 ft.
In plantations, the trees are kept smaller, up to 78 feet (24 m) tall, so as to use most of the available carbon dioxide for latex production.
The tree requires a climate with heavy rainfall and without frost.
Chocolate has tropical origins. It comes from the cacao tree of the rain forest. Seeds pods (show in picture above) grow not on the end of branches but directly off of the branches and trunk. Each pod is about the size of a pineapple and holds thirty to fifty seeds.
That is enough to make about seven milk chocolate or two dark chocolate bars. Cacao seeds are not sweet. The scientific name of the cacao tree, Theobroma means ?food of the gods.?
Montezuma the First Great Patron of Chocolate.
Picture Credit: ©2009 Jupiter Image
In 1519, the Spanish conquistador, Cortes, landed in Mexico, marched into the interior and discovered to his surprise, not the huts of savages, but a beautiful city, with palaces and museums. This city was the capital of the Aztecs, a remarkable people, notable alike for their ancient civilization and their wealth.
Their national drink was chocolate, and Montezuma, their Emperor, who lived in a state of luxurious magnificence, “took no other beverage than the chocolatl, a potation of chocolate, flavored with vanilla and other spices, and so prepared as to be reduced to a froth of the consistency of honey, which gradually dissolved in the mouth and was taken cold. This beverage if so it could be called, was served in golden goblets, with spoons of the same metal or tortoise-shell finely wrought.
The Emperor was exceedingly fond of it, to judge from the quantity no less than fifty jars or pitchers being prepared for his own daily consumption: two thousand more were allowed for that of his household.” It is curious that Montezuma took no other beverage than chocolate, especially if it be true that the Aztecs also invented that fascinating drink, the cocktail (xoc-tl).
How long this ancient people, students of the mysteries of culinary science, had known the art of preparing a drink from cacao, is not known, but it is evident that the cultivation of cacao received great attention in these parts, for if we read down the list of the tributes paid by different cities to the Lords of Mexico, we find “20 chests of ground chocolate, 20 bags of gold dust,” again “80 loads of red chocolate, 20 lip-jewels of clear amber,” and yet again “200 loads of chocolate.”
Another people that share with the Aztecs the honour of being the first great cultivators of cacao are the Incas of Peru, that wonderful nation that knew not poverty.
The Fascination of Chocolate.
That chocolate charmed the ladies of Mexico in the seventeenth century (even as it charms the ladies of England to-day) is shown by a story which Gage relates in his New Survey of the West Indias (1648). He tells us that at Chiapa, southward from Mexico, the women used to interrupt both sermon and mass by having their maids bring them a cup of hot chocolate; and when the Bishop, after fair warning, excommunicated them for this presumption, they changed their church. The Bishop, he adds, was poisoned for his pains.
Cacao Beans as Money.
Cacao was used by the Aztecs not only for the preparation of a beverage, but also as a circulating medium of exchange. For example, one could purchase a “tolerably good slave” for 100 beans. We read that: “Their currency consisted of transparent quills of gold dust, of bits of tin cut in the form of a T, and of bags of cacao containing a specified number of grains.” “Blessed money,” exclaims Peter Martyr, “which exempts its possessor from avarice, since it cannot be long hoarded, nor hidden underground!”
Old drawing of an American Indian – at his feet a chocolate cup, chocolate pot and chocolate whisk or “molinet”
Native American Indians roasting and grinding the beans, and mixing the chocolate in the jug with a whisk
List of other items we get from the Rain Forest:
|anthurium, croton, dieffenbachia, dracaena, fiddle-leaf fig, palm, parlor ivy,philodendron, rubber tree plant, schef- flera, silver vase bromeliad, spathiphyllum,swiss cheese plant, zebra plant||balsa, mahogany, rosewood,sandal wood, teak||avocado, banana, breadfruit,coconut, durian, grapefruit,guava, jackfruit, lemon, lime, mango, mangosteen, orange, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, plantain, rambutan, tangerine|
|Pharmaceutical||Spices||Vegetables & foods|
|annatto-red dyecurare-muscle relaxant for surgerydiosgenin- steroids, asthma and arthritis treatment,quassia-insecticide
quinine- anti-malarial,pneumonia treatment
|allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne, chili, cinnamon, clove, ginger, mace, nutmeg, paprika, sesame seeds, tumeric, vanilla||Brazil nuts, cane sugar, cashew nuts, chayote, chocolate, coffee, cucumber, macadamia nuts, manioc/tapioca, okra, peanuts, soft drinks (cola), tea|
|Fibers||Oils||Gums and Resins|
|bamboo-furniture, baskets raffiarope, cord, basketsramie-cotton ramie fabric, fishing line rattan furniture, wickerwork, baskets, chair seatsjute/kcnaf-rope, burlapkapok-insulation, life jackets, sound-proofing||baby oil-perfume camphor oil perfume, soap, disinfectant, detergent cascarilla oil confections, beverages coconut oil-suntan lotion, candleseucalyptus oil-perfume, cough dropsoil of star anise-scents, confections, beverages palm oil shampoo, detergentspatchouli oil-perfume rosewood oil perfume, cosmetics, flavoring
sandalwood oil-perfume tolu
balsam oil-confections, soaps, cosmetics,
|chicole latex-chewing gumcopaiba-perfume, fuel copal paints, varnishes guttapertha-golf ball covers rubberlatex-rubber products
Water Cycle – Importance to the Rain Forest
The importance of making rain:
The rain is made from the moisture of the rain forest. The moisture found within the forest evaporates into the air and forms clouds. These clouds move to other areas where they eventually release rain. The rain feeds not only the rain forest, but other parts of the world. Rain cools the air , keeping temperatures from rising too high. Rain helps the lush vegetation in a rain forest grow
What is the water cycle?
Water goes around in a circle or cycle. The three major steps of the water cycle are precipitation, evaporation and condensation. Rain, sleet, and snow fall from the clouds depending on the temperature. These are different forms of precipitation. The rain, sleet and melting snow flow into the ground and eventually into bigger bodies of water. The sun?s heat melts snow and it also changes water into water vapor or gas. This is evaporation. The water vapor rises into the air and cools. As it cools, it forms a cloud. This is condensation. Then it starts all over again.
The word cell comes from the Latin cellula, meaning, a small room.
The cell has been called the most basic unit of life. However, there is nothing basic about it. As much research and studying that has been done by scientist, the marvelous cell still contains many “guarded” secrets.
As humans, we have a common bond with every other living thing on Earth. All living things are made of cells.
Cells come together to form tissues, tissues work together to make organs, and organs combine to make body systems.
Organelles ? Cells ?Tissue? Organs ?Organ Systems ?Organisms
Life is all about the cell. Everything in biology depends about events in the cell since they produce energy that makes living things grow and function.
Size and Shape
Some cells are rectangular shaped and some square shaped. Some look like eggs and others well—look just like blobs.
Most cells can only be seen through a microscope. Even though a scientist can magnify or enlarge it to huge proportions, it still has so much intricate detail that can’t be seen.
A Walled City
Cells have been compared to a wall city with a government. A power plant produces energy, factories to produce proteins, a transportation system and even security guards to monitor what is allowed to enter. The cell can catch food, digest it, get rid of wastes, and build “houses” among other things.
1 vs 100,000,000
Some cells have only a single cell. They are called unicellular organisms. Some examples are tiny algae, diatoms and protozoa. Other living things like trees and whales have millions and millions of cells. They are called multicellular organisms. Usually the bigger the organism, the more cells it will have.The human body has more than 75 trillion cells in it.
Prokaryotic & Eukaryotic Cells
If a cell has a nucleus, it is a eukaryote. What makes a nucleus is the separation of the genetic material by a membrane. Eukaryotes include fungi, plants, and animals, as well as organisms called protists. Protists are single-celled eukaryotes. The other organisms mentioned are multicellular.
If a cell does not have a nucleus, it is a prokaryote. Bacteria are prokaryotes. Bacteria and other prokaryotes? genetic material is not contained in a membrane. They are simple organisms, but they carry out all of their processes ? reproduction, growth, movement, and response to environment ? on their own.
Two basic types: Animal and Plant Cells
In many ways, animal and plant cells are like. They both have a cell membrane, a nucleus and cytoplasm. One way they are different is that a plant cell has a cell wall that surrounds the cell membrane . The cell wall supports the cell. Plant cells have chloroplast too. Animal cells do not have a cell wall.
The more we learned about the variety of plant and animal life in the rain forest, along with the intricate details and complexities of cells the more we are in awe of the infinite wisdom behind all of it.
Cell is the term for the smallest living biological structure and it was coined by Robert Hooke in a book he published in 1665 when he compared the cork cells he saw through his microscope to the small rooms monks lived in. Hooke wasn’t observing living cells. He was looking at the outer walls of what had been living plant cells.
His discovery was significant since it opened up the study of cells.
Picture Credit: ©Cells Alive, Information Ours. To receive a full page pdf go to Cells Alive.
- cell membrane – semi permeable membrane allowing some substances to move in and out of the cell
- cell wall – helps the plant stay upright; bonds with other cell walls to form the structure of the plant; is made of cellulose
- chloroplast – contains chlorophyll; performs photosynthesis
- cytoplasm – is a gel-like substance that fills the cell
- smooth & rough ER (endoplasmic reticulum) – transports proteins to other parts of the cell; rougher ER is dotted with ribosomes; smooth ER has no ribosomes
- mitochondrion – converts nutrients to energy; power center of the cell
- nucleus – control center of the cell and where DNA is contained.
- nucleolus – small round body inside the nucleus where ribosome synthesis occurs
- vacuole – membrane bound sac; area used for storage like water, pigments and sugars
- Golgi body – proteins and lipids are stored and changed to suit the need of the cell.
- centrosome – produces microtubules; plant cell centrosome is simpler and does not have centrioles
- ribosome – makes new protein
- cell membrane- semi permeable membrane; also known as the plasma membrane; the outer limit for the cell.
- cytoplasm– is a gel-like substance that fills the cell and in which the organelles are suspended
- smooth & rough ER (endoplasmic reticulum)– transports proteins to other parts of the cell; rougher ER is dotted with ribosomes; smooth ER has no ribosomes
- mitochondrion- converts nutrients to energy
- lysosome– destroys old organelles and dangerous substances
- nucleus– control center of the cell and where DNA is contained.
- nucleolus– small round body inside the nucleus where ribosome synthesis occurs
- vacuole– membrane bound sac; storage chambers where nutrients, water, and waste products are temporarily kept
- Golgi body– series of stacked membrane sacs that stores proteins and lipids (fats) and that are changed to suit the need of the cell
- centrosome – produces microtubules; in animal cells the centrosome is actually a pair of organelles called centriole
- ribosome – makes new protein
Pioneer Microbiologist Antonie van Leewenhoek
Born in Delft, Holland in 1632. He did not receive any higher education or university degrees. He was untrained in science but basically started a new branch of science. He had an open mind free from the scientific ideas of his day. He discovered: bacteria, Free-living parasitic microscopic protists, sperm cells and blood cells.
Even though he did not discover the microscope, (the compound microscope was invented some 40 years earlier) he did take it to new levels of power.
This except is from a letter he wrote:
..whenever I found out anything remarkable, I have thought it my duty to put down my discovery on paper, so that all ingenious people might be informed
Father of Taxonomy Carolus Linnaeus
Born in Sweden in 1707. He showed a deep love for plants and a fascination for their names.
Most of his time spent in the University of Uppsala was collecting and studying plants.
He reasoned that since God had created the world, it is possible to understand His wisdom by studying His creation. He is called the Father of Taxonomy because he established a system for naming, ranking, and classifying organisms. This basic system is still in use today.
About the creation of God he wrote:
One is completely stunned by the resourcefulness of the Creator.
(Pic. of cross section of a leaf. In the future more books will be made on focusing on the minute details of the leaves – veins,edges, cells, shape,color,etc.)
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, algae and some bacteria use light energy to produce food (sugars) out of carbon dioxide and water. Chlorophyll, a pigment which gives plants their green color, traps light energy for these organisms to use in making food.
Photosynthetic organisms are producers that provide food to nearly all consumers on Earth. For most living organisms, photosynthesis is the first step in the food chain which connects living things. Every land animal depends to some degree on green plants.
Photosynthesizing plants take carbon dioxide from the air, water from the soil, and use energy from the sun. Some of the light energy as it interacts with chlorophyll, is used to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Light energy is then used to join hydrogen and carbon dioxide together to form a new molecule: sugar. The sugar formed is glucose, the food a plant uses for growth and maintenance.
The Imaginary World of Henri Rousseau
About Henri Rousseau: Henri Rousseau was a self taught artist. He was born in 1844 in Laval, a small French town. Rousseau knew from an early age that he wanted to be a famous painter.
Art and music were his favorite classes in school and the only ones he excelled at. He became known as “The Douanier” the customs officer, because of the job he did for many years inspecting goods and levying rolls at the Paris city gates. Shortly after joining the Paris customs service, Rousseau started to paint. Rousseau received a copyist’s permit which gave him free admission to the national museums in Paris. Rousseau’s paintings were laughed at, ridiculed and one canvas was even purchased to hang in a “House of Horrors”. Yet he kept on and persisted.
In 1891, he unveiled the first of his jungle paintings, Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!) showing a snarling tiger creeping through a rain lashed jungle. Rousseau’s use of vivid yellows and reds amid lush greens heightens the colors’ intensity.
One fact that we find particularly fascinating is that he never left his home of France to study the jungle and then paint it. All of his paintings come from his visits to the zoo, botanical gardens and from magazines and books.
He would stroll through the suburbs of Paris, sketching from nature. Although he would copy art in the Louvre, he was basically self taught. His work can be described as work from his imagination along with a child like innocence. Rousseau painted “Tropical Forest with monkeys” but when you observe it closer you see that the lush foliage is not realistic.
Based upon his visits to the Jardin de Plantes, (a botanical garden and zoo in Paris in his time) Rousseau used them as inspiration to enlarge and embellish the foliage in the painting.
While it is not easy to classify Rousseau’s work into a definite style, it has been considered a forerunner of surrealism.
(This concept came from Paris in the early 20th century. The intent of surrealism was to allow thought to be expressed freely. Surrealists used techniques that were free from control or “automatic manner”. It conveys the idea of dream like imagery,distortions of reality and elements of surprise.)
Although critics ridiculed his work, he never lost confidence in his art work and even made a scrapbook of it. Pablo Picasso and Wassily Kandinksy both insisted on owning Rousseau’s works and Picasso gave a banquet for him.
Rousseau escaped from his every day life as a customs officer in Paris to a world of imagination and dreams in the jungle through his paintings.
Henri Rousseau Prints
( Hungry Lion c.1910)
(Exotic Landscape c.1908)
(Exotic Landscape c.1908)
(The Repast of the Lion c.1907)
(Lion in jungle c. 1910)
(Surprised -Tropical Storm with a Tiger c. 1891)
(The Merry Jesters c. 1906)
Martin Johnson Heade
Henry Rousseau wasn’t the only artist captured by the beauty of South America. Martin Johnson Heade (August 11, 1819-September 4, 1904) was a prolific American painter known for his salt marsh landscapes, seascapes, portraits of tropical birds, and still lifes. His painting style and subject matter, while derived from the romanticism of the time, is regarded by art historians as a significant departure from that of his peers.
Heade’s interest in the tropics was piqued at least partly by the impact of Frederic Edwin Church’s monumental painting Heart of the Andes (1859), now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Heade travelled to Brazil from 1863 to 1864 to paint an extensive series of small works, eventually numbering over forty, depicting hummingbirds.
He intended the series for a planned book titled “The Gems of Brazil”, but the book was never published due to financial difficulty and Heade’s concerns about the quality of the reproductions. Heade nevertheless returned to the tropics twice, in 1866 journeying to Nicaragua, and in 1870 to Colombia, Panama, and Jamaica. He continued to paint romantic works of tropical birds and lush foliage into his late career
Frederic Edwin Church’s monumental painting Heart of the Andes (1859) inspired Martin Johnson Heade
Orchids and Passion Flowers by Martin Johnson Heade (1880)
Hooded Visorbearer byMartin Johnson Heade
Orchids and Hummingbirds by Martin Johnson Heade
Brazilian Forest by Martin Johnson Heade
Fort-Tailed Woodnymph by Martin Johnson Heade
Why are the rain forests in trouble?
The plight of the Amazonian rain forest has raised concerns among many South Americans as well as people throughout the world. One of the rain forest’s greatest champions was a Brazilian named Chico Mendes who confronted and drove off workers hired by cattle ranchers to clear some of the forest. Mendes was eventually gunned down outside his home in 1988.
Some argue that in order for South America to grow economically it must make full use of the Amazon basin.
We determined at the end of this unit study that the flawed thinking behind that is once the land is cleared of its native trees and plants it is not suited for the demands of crops. The people who once cleared the land abandon it because the soil is no longer fertile.
The need of supporting the continent’s expanding population and preserving the rain forest is its greatest issue.
Rain Forest Words
- Conservation: the preservation of natural species and environments that have been exploited by humans; usually involves help from the government and scientists
- Decomposer: organisms that feed on and ?recycle? dead matter into nutrients; examples: millipedes, hissing cockroaches, termites, worms, insects, and fungi
- Deforestation: cutting down, burning, and clearing of forests
- Drip-tip: the long, pointed tip on leaves in the upper layers of the rainforest; shed water from the leaf’s waxy surface at a slower pace
- Ecosystem: the complex community of organisms that function as an ecological unit; the interaction of living and non-living things
- Epiphyte: a plant that lives on another plant and gets its water and nutrients from the air
- Equator: an imaginary line that circles the world like a belt halfway between the North and South Poles
- Nutrients: ?food? that plants and animals need to grow
- Binomial Nomenclature: A two-name system of naming organisms.
- Classify: To put objects, ideas or organisms into groups based on similarity.
- Genus: A group of similar species.
- Organism: Any living thing.
- Scientific Name: The two-part name of an organism consisting of the genus and species.
- Species: A group of closely related organisms capable of mating and producing viable offspring.
- Trait An inherited characteristic.
- Camouflage: the natural coloring or patterning of an animal that allows it to blend in with its surroundings
- Predator: an animal that obtains food by killing and eating other animals
- Prey: an animal that is killed and eaten by other animals
- Oxygen: an atmospheric gas necessary for the process of aerobic respiration
- Root: the part of a plant that extends underground and serves to uptake water and minerals from the soil
- Soil: Soil is the upper layer of earth in which plants can grow. It is composed of inorganic matter (rocks that disintegrate into sand, silt, and clay), organic matter (decomposing plant and animal remains and manure), water, air and organisms
- Tropics – The regions of the earth, near the equator, where it is hot all year.
Part II Rain Forest Notebooking Pages
ABC’s Storage Pockets. Mix and match.
(Note to store all of the ABC cards you will need to print off 9 pockets. 8 pockets will hold 3 cards and one pocket will store two cards.)
What is a Rain Forest?
Food of the Rain Forest
5 Little Monkeys Swinging on a Tree
My mini book of Rain Forest Opposites
Layers of the Rain Forest Book and Rain Forest Science Vocabulary Words
As always decide how few or how many of these science words you want your child to know depending on their age. This list goes up to about the 2nd grade. Also there is enough room on the card if you choose for them to give a two or three word definition. In our case our children learn cursive in first grade. So the youngest copied all of the words in cursive.
Note: Because there can be so many different variations in lapbooks and notebook pages, we have a download that is full of rain forests facts. It can be used to “fill in” between spaces, if there are any on your page. Look under the “Older Section” for Rain Forest Facts. Choose as many facts you want off that page. Then either glue “here and there” on your page, staple like a book, accordion fold or use however you choose.
PART IV – Rain Forest Lapbook for Older Child
The Rain Forest Where Is it?
Layered Book About the Amazon
This book has three options to use it but you get all options in the one download below. The book comes with information ready to use, it comes with just lines and then it comes blank so if you need to use it another way.
On the Layers of the Rain Forest minibook there are 3 different books to suit any age. The younger one located at the top has animals to color with a picture of the layers labeled for the child. This one located here has the picture and your child labels. The one pictured right after this one has 4 tabs with no picture if you are worried about ink or if your child finds the picture “babyish”. We try to please “kids” of all ages because we have some just like yours.
5 Kingdoms of Life Layers of the Rain Forest(1 of 2 for older)
(Layer of Rain Forest 4 tabs and The Canopy research are high school level appropriate mini books)
Products we get from the Rain Forest. The Lungs of the World
Save the Rain Forest book
How do they get their energy? Herbivores, Carnivores, Omnivores and a mini report book on Jaguars – King of the Rain Forest.
Insects, Reptiles and Amphibians of the Rain Forest
This next book is a pocket with picture cards of some of the birds of the Amazon Rain Forest. You can write some facts on the back of the the cards if you choose to.
In all our months of researching about the birds of the rain forest, it was easy to come across websites that said “there are billions” (ok maybe slight exaggeration here) of birds in the Amazon. But my next question: “Yes, well —what KINDS are there?” But few sites really gave a comprehensive list of any of them besides the common Toucan and Parrot family that we all know about. Then I came across the site of Arthur Grosett.
He truly has done a fantastic job of “organizing and categorizing” the birds into families that make it easier to understand! Not to mention, that he “lists” and “identifies” a lot more species if you are interested in further study of them.
Of course, check out all sites you send your children to, but so far his site is pretty family friendly. Here is the site Arthur Grosett.
All pictures Arthur Grosett. Thank you Mr. Grosett for helping us to further our education about these lovely creatures.
Life Cycle of Kapok Tree
I don’t think our study of the rain forest would not be complete with the information we learned on the Kapok Tree. This life cycle wheel is appropriate for any age.
The Different Colored Rivers of the Amazon
Plants of the Rain Forest
Jungle Art mini book
Even though we found quite a few artists that enjoyed the art of the tropics, we feel that Henri Rousseau captures the spirit of the dream like qualities we all might feel when we study and see the rain forest, vegetation and the animals. Even though his art was an exaggeration and the animals he painted come from different rain forest and not the Amazon, it is evident from his art that he had a love for nature and a longing to visit the tropical rain forest. That is captured in his paintings. The children felt he captured the “Colors of the Rain Forest’ and wanted to change his art to that name.
Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek Carolus Linnaeus
Note: Because there can be so many different variations in lapbooks and notebook pages, we have a download that is full of rain forests facts. It can be used to “fill in” between spaces, if there are any on your page. Choose as many facts you want off this page. Then either glue “here and there” on your page, staple like a book, accordion fold or use however you choose.
Activities we liked;
Studying Bromeliads: Grow a Pineapple
Materials Needed: Top of pineapple with leaves, flower pot, liquid measuring cup, potting soil, sand, water, plastic bag.
?Note you do not need a huge amount of potting soil or sand. I just had these at the house. You need just enough potting soil to fill a 4 inch pot and a 5 inch pot and enough sand to fill a 4 inch pot and 5 inch pot with about a 1/4 inch from the top after your potting soil.
First use the measuring cup to determine how much water the whorled leaf top can hold. Then discuss what kinds of animals live in the miniature jungle pond.
Then slice off the leafy top from a fresh pineapple including about one inch of the fruit. Let it dry for 2 days. Then fill a 4 -inch pot with potting soil and leave it about 1 inch from the top. Moisten the soil and pack into the pot. Sprinkle a 1/4 inch layer of sand over the soil. Put the pineapple top onto the sandy surface and then cover the fleshy part with more potting soil. Cover the plant and pot with a plastic bag and place it in a warm shady area.
So the kids think a clear ruler is cool, Me? I can hardly see the thing
When roots appear in about 8 or 10 weeks, remove the plastic bag. Replant the pineapple in 5 or 8 inch pot. Study the leaves and roots of the bromeliad plants.
Free Rainforest Lapbooks
How to Grab the Free Minibooks for the Rainforest Lapbook
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That means when you sign up to follow me, you get access to my Exclusive Subscriber’s Only Library and you get this freebie too.
This is how you get access quickly.
► 1) Sign up on my list.
► 2) Go to your inbox and confirm your email from the automatic reply I sent you.
►3) Look for the automatic reply giving you the password to the private subscriber’s area. You should have it soon.
IF you are already a follower/subscriber, find the MOST RECENT email from me and the password and link to the Subscribers Area are ALWAYS at the bottom of every email.
Other Rainforest Resources:
Our final personal thoughts about what we have learned so far in this unit and about this slide show: We wholeheartedly echo the Bible as it testifies in Psalm 19:1-4 that WITHOUT speech, words or voice, God?s creative works are declaring his glory!!
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.”