Tropical Rainforests: Animal-Plant Relationships and Biodiversity
© Eric Hunt
We have Bilingual Educators! Let us know if any students or chaperones in your class might benefit from activities taught in: Cantonese, Mandarin, or Spanish.
By the end of this field trip program, students will be able to:
- construct an explanation for how humans, plants, and animals depend on each other for survival
- describe the time scale for growth of diverse rainforest ecosystems
- identify cause and effect relationships of human impacts on ecosystems (both beneficial and harmful)
How long does it take for a diverse rainforest to grow? Why are rainforests important to global health? What are the ways that humans can help these important environments thrive? Students take on the role of being citizen scientists who live in a rainforest affected by deforestation. In the program, students investigate how plant and animal relationships are essential to the growth of foods and medicines. Students create graphic models and use kinesthetic models for the life cycles of plants, including important roles of seed dispersers and pollinators.
Through facilitated discussion, the class explores a major cause of habitat loss and deforestation: cattle ranching. Students then brainstorm ways they can positively affect ecosystems by thinking about ways to minimize impacts of habitat loss in order to make sure humans and rainforest can coexist together.
This field trip program compliments the FOSS Curriculum: Living Systems.
You may also use some of the Academy’s resources to help your students connect learning experiences in the museum to the classroom.
Science and Engineering Practices
- Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Construct an explanation of observed relationships. Use evidence (e.g., observations, patterns) to construct or support an explanation or design a solution to a problem.
Disciplinary Core Idea
- 5-LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life.
- 5-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems: Human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life have had major effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, air, and even outer space. But individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth’s resources and environments.
- Scale, Proportion, and Quantity: Natural objects and/or observable phenomena exist from the very small to the immensely large or from very short to very long time periods.
- Systems and System Models: A system is a group of related parts that make up a whole and can carry out functions its individual parts cannot.
- Life Sciences 3c. Students know many plants depend on animals for pollination and seed dispersal, and animals depend on plants for food and shelter.
- Investigation and Experimentation 6c. Formulate and justify predictions based on cause-and-effect relationships.