35 Animals of Costa Rica

Type Category
Instructional Materials
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.



The short 5-minute video highlights animals that all live in the tiny country of Costa Rica. The video has no words or speaking, and some of the animals are familiar and others will not be. The rainforest is one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet, and this short video underscores this idea.


Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Elementary School
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

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 was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This resource would be used for supporting a comparison between the rainforest habitat and another habitat with which the students are very familiar.  For example, after the students looked for different species in a field near the school, they could list all the different kind of animals they found there. Then they could ask the question if there are more kinds of animals that live in other habitats, and watch the video recording and discuss the variety in the rainforest making the claim that different habitats support different numbers of kind of animals. (I use kinds of animals here instead of species, but some students use species.)

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
The teachers may need to identify the animals prior to the lesson to help students correctly identify the names? And students may need help figuring out what some of the animals that they see are called. They would be able to list the animals and use the list to eventually compare with the animals in a familiar habitat.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The usefulness of the video is that it not only shows  there are a lot of different animals that live in the rainforest, but that these animals are very different from what we are accustomed to seeing in habitats near the community where the students live.  

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The students would need support looking for patterns in the animals that live in the rainforest and the animals that live in the habitat near the community near the school.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The video accompanied with the suggestions in this review supports a lesson or unit with respect to the Disciplinary Core Idea and the practice but does not support the Crosscutting Concept in the Performance Expectation. Tips: Include this video as a habitat to compare with a habitat near the school. List all of the animals that are observed in both environments and look for patterns between the lists. Prompts, “Do all habitats have the same kinds of animals?” Do you think some habitats have more different kinds (species) of animals that others? What is your evidence?

  • Instructional Supports: The video, accompanied by the suggested tips engages students in an authentic and meaningful event that reflect the practice of science and engineering as experienced in the real world. There is no text or spoken audio, which allows the teacher to differentiate as needed for his/her classroom, and students would have ample opportunity to describe and clarify their ideas as they engage with the video.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: If used as suggested in the tips as part of the larger lesson, the teacher would be able to monitor student progress as he/she asks the students about patterns they notice between the two habitats. If he/she needed to know individual progress, they would need to ask students to write and/or draw what they notice between the two habitats or ask students to freewrite in their science notebooks about the questions, “Do all habitats have the same number of types (species) of animals?” and “What is your evidence?”

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The quality in terms of video quality is very good, but there are few odd shots.