The Wonders of the Rain Forest

Jeri Faber, educator
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be "fully aligned," the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



For this lesson, the students listen to the teacher read a book about the rainforest.  Students make observations from the book to compare the new information on a classification organizer about plant and animal life in the rainforest. Students use their new knowledge to add a page in their interactive science notebook.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Grade 2
  • Elementary School
Access Restrictions

Free access with user action - The right to view and/or download material without financial barriers but users are required to register or experience some other low-barrier to use.

Performance Expectations

2-LS4-1 Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the diversity of living things in each of a variety of different habitats.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include specific animal and plant names in specific habitats.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The activities within the lesson have students compare the diversity of life within the rainforest. To meet the Performance Expectation, the teacher should have a class discussion about where the plants and animals are found within the rainforest (trees, rivers, on/in plants, layers of the forest, etc.). Habitats within the rainforest are compared on the student recording sheets.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students use information from the book read aloud and a rainforest video to make classifications about the life in a rainforest. Students would need to have prior experience with animal groups in order to make the classifications. A note-taking chart is provided in the resource as well. The students determine the classifications and justify their reasoning for what they chose.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
When picking books about the rainforest to read aloud, teachers need to consider books with all living things-plants AND animals. The teacher should also utilize the discussion over the classifications that the students determine. Students can use their prior experiences with classification to make lists of animals and practice classifying them according to their self-determined "rules" for classification. Then this Core Idea will be more fully addressed.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The students classify living things from the rainforest in this lesson/activity based on observed characteristics used to determine plant and animal classifications. Students should have prior experience with classifying plants and animals according to their observed characteristics.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The lesson does have alignment to a Practice and the Disciplinary Core Idea. This particular NGSS Performance Expectation is not aligned to a Crosscutting Concept. However, this author suggested patterns and relationships in the natural world can be observed. In previous lessons, the author had students investigate characteristics that then allowed classification of animal types in this lesson.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson develops a deeper understanding of the Practice and the Disciplinary Core Idea by building on students' prior knowledge of animal groups and habitats. The teacher's probing questions help the students apply prior knowledge to the life in the rainforest. Handouts, videos, student work samples etc are included in this lesson. The resource lacks ideas for differentiation for ELL, higher ability, and supported students.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The teacher should circulate as students are filling in the classification sheet to check for misconceptions. The student recording sheets and class discussions help the teacher assess which students understand the rainforest habitat. The teacher would need to develop summative or formal assessments and rubrics to make this rating stronger for this lesson. There are additional lessons created by this author that could be used to further monitor progress including a diorama of an animal in its habitat that comes with a rubric for assessment.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The video and resource links all work and are appropriate for this age level.