Our Rainforest Inquiry

Several weeks ago, we noticed a few children building a structure using blocks and the acrylic lid from the sensory bin.
S.P.:  This is a forest.
A.P.:  No it's a rainforest!
Mrs. Albanese:  What's the difference?
A.P.:  A rainforest is far away.  It rains there a lot!  
S.P.:  Yah but I think the animals are the same.

So we went down the hall to the library and searched for books that could possibly help us find out the difference between a forest and a rainforest.
Several children became intrigued with our new books and wanted to draw some of the animals.
We read this particular book, The Magic School Bus In the Rainforest, to the children over the course of the week to see if there was more interest.

A.R.:  I think the toucan is a cool bird.
Mrs. Albanese:  What makes it 'cool'?
A.R.:  It is so colourful!

The large structure the boys built kept growing taller and taller so I suggested we move it to the hallway where there was more room for all to help out.

One particular boy, A.P., took such an interest in the rainforest that he brought in books from home as well as small creatures to add to the creation.
The more we read and researched, the children began to tweak their project.
They found out that a rainforest has 4 layers, lots of moss, rocks, vines, waterfalls, etc. and animals live on different layers.

I left out a large map for the children to compare to the one they found in a book.
They wanted to use the map to label the rainforests from around the world.
We borrowed the globe from the class next door to get another idea of what the world looks like and try to find the rainforests.

While we were researching the various animals that live in the rainforest, we noticed that the children were so excited to read and learn more about the anaconda snake.  We read that this snake is about 6 feet long, on average, so we decided to see how long that really was!
The children began making their own anaconda to add to their rainforest!

Students were hard at work researching other animals and drawing them to add to the rainforest.

Making the vines was probably the best part!
Everyone wanted to help paint and cut (we left the hanging part for the educators!).
This particular student was very keen on recording his new found knowledge on a documentation wall.  This display was created by the students, as they added their drawings and pictures throughout the inquiry.

We watched several videos of a rainforest and some students were captured by the many different sounds you can hear!  This student tried to re-create all of the sounds with found materials.

This rainforest inquiry lasted for several weeks, as many children delighted in playing with the animals and adding to it by drawing and researching the animals that live in the rainforest.
It's still in our hallway as we hope that parents, staff and other students in our school will pass by and see the wonderful creation and learning that has taken place!


  1. I really like the way you have a flair for 'going with the flow' when it comes to teaching. This 'unit' on the Rainforest is a great example. There is SO much learning going on in your classroom and you're such an inspiration. Your kids are so blessed to have you as their teacher. Keep up the awesome work and thanks for some great ideas!
    Nice to see you post again! ;)

  2. I love your inquiry! The students did an amazing job going through the inquiry cycle! Your kiddos look so engaged and like they want to learn more! There is so much learning and room for questioning it is great!


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