Rainforest Kit

Bring the rainforest to life in your classroom! Give your students hands-on experiences that will build their understanding of the importance of tropical rainforests and the need for protecting these valuable ecosystems. Explore topics including the water cycle in the Amazon, the life cycle of rainforest plants, rainforest conservation challenges, and more.

You can use this kit to prepare your students for a field trip to the Academy's Rainforest Exhibit. Or, if you can't make it to the Academy, use the kit on its own to bring the rainforest to you! This version of the rainforest kit is for grades 4 - 8.


  • curriculum binder
  • rainforest poster
  • 10 rainforest products
  • 8 sets of the "Conservation Island" game
  • props for the "Rainforest Water Cycle" role play
  • 8 sets of the "Mission Unpredictable" game
  • Books: "rainforest" by Thomas Marent; "Rainforest Researchers", "Partners and Rivals", "Native Peoples", "Surviving in the Rainforest", "River Life", and "Layers of Life" by James L. Castner; "The Most Beautiful Roof in the World" by Kathryn Lasky
  • DVDs: "Planet Earth" and "World's Last Great Places: Rainforest"


Rainforest Kit Activity

Discovering Rainforest Locations: Practice reading and interpreting world maps as you learn the locations of tropical rainforests and the connections between living and non-living components of an ecosystem.

Amazon Water Cycle Role-play: Explore the various processes of the water cycle in a creative role-play activity.

Mission Unpredictable--Plant Lifecycle: Learn about the relationships between plants, pollinators, and seed dispersers in this competitive card game.

Build a Borneo Glider!: Discover the gliding inhabitants of the Borneo rainforest and learn the basic forces of flight as you construct and experiment with your own paper glider.

Rainforest Products: Learn about products we use every day that originate in the rainforest and identify the parts of the plants used to make the products.

Conservation Island: Learn about the concepts of endangered and extinct species and explore the complex issues of conservation as you create your own conservation plan to protect three endangered animals sharing an island with human communities.

California Science Content Standards

We are in the process of aligning the kits with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). NGSS connections will be posted here in the near future.

Grade Four

Life Sciences

  • 2b. Students know producers and consumers (herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and decomposers) are related in food chains and food webs and may compete with each other for resources in an ecosystem.
  • 3a. Students know ecosystems can be characterized by their living and nonliving components.
  • 3b. Students know that in any particular environment some kinds of plants and animals survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
  • 3c. Students know many plants depend on animals for pollination and seed dispersal, and animals depend on plants for food and shelter.

Earth Sciences

  • 5a. Students know some changes in the earth are due to slow processes, such as erosion, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.
  • 5b. Students know natural processes, including freezing and thawing and the growth of roots, cause rocks to break down into smaller pieces.
  • 5c. Students know moving water erodes landforms, reshaping the land by taking it away from some places and depositing as pebbles, sand, silt and mud in other places (weathering, transport, and deposition).

Investigation and Experimentation

  • 6a. Differentiate observation from inference (interpretation) and know scientists' explanations come partly from what they observe and partly from how they interpret their observations.
  • 6b. Measure and estimate the weight, length, or volume of objects.
  • 6c. Formulate and justify predictions based on cause-and-effect relationships.
  • 6d. Conduct multiple trials to test a prediction and draw conclusions about the relationships between predictions and results.
  • 6f. Follow a set of written instructions for a scientific investigation.

Grade Five

Life Sciences

  • 5e. Students know the number and types of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and on abiotic factors, such as quantities of light and water, a range of temperatures, and soil composition.

Earth Sciences

  • 3b. Students know when liquid water evaporates, it turns into water vapor in the air and can reappear as a liquid when cooled or as a solid if cooled below the freezing point of water.
  • 3c. Students know water vapor in the air moves from one place to another and can form fog or clouds, which are tiny droplets of water or ice, and can fall to Earth as rain, hail, sleet, or snow.
  • 3d. Students know that the amount of fresh water located in rivers, lakes, under-ground sources, and glaciers is limited and that its availability can be extended by recycling and decreasing the use of water.
  • 4b. Students know the influence that the ocean has on the weather and the role that the water cycle plays in weather patterns.

Investigation and Experimentation

  • 6h. Draw conclusions from scientific evidence and indicate whether further information is needed to support a specific conclusion.

Grade Six

Life Sciences

  • 5d. Students know different kinds of organisms may play similar ecological roles in similar biomes.
  • 5e. Students know the number and types of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and on abiotic factors, such as quantities of light and water, a range of temperatures, and soil composition.
  • 6b. Students know different natural energy and material resources, including air, soil, rocks, minerals, petroleum, fresh water, wildlife, and forests, and know how to classify them as renewable or nonrenewable.
  • 6c. Students know the natural origin of the materials used to make common objects.

Earth Sciences

  • 1e. Students know major events, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building, result from plate motions.
  • 2a. Students know water running downhill is the dominant process in shaping the landscape, (including the California landscape).
  • 2b. Students know rivers and streams are dynamic systems that erode, transport sediment, change course, and flood their banks in natural and recurring patterns.

Investigation and Experimentation

  • 7g. Interpret events by sequence and time from natural phenomena. (e.g., the relative ages of rocks and intrusions).

Grade Seven

Life Sciences

  • 3e. Students know that extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics of a species are insufficient for its survival.
  • 5f. Students know the structures and processes by which flowering plants generate pollen, ovules, seeds, and fruit.
  • 5g. Students know how to relate the structures of the eye and ear to their functions.

Earth Sciences

  • 4a. Students know Earth processes today are similar to those that occurred in the past and slow geologic processes have large cumulative effects over long periods of time.
  • 4c. Students know that the rock cycle includes the formation of new sediment and rocks and that rocks are often found in layers, with the oldest generally on the bottom.

Investigation and Experimentation

  • 7d. Construct scale models, maps, and appropriately labeled diagrams to communicate scientific knowledge (e.g., motion of Earth's plates and cell structure).
  • 7e. Communicate the steps and results from an investigation in written reports and oral presentations.

Grade Eight

Physical Sciences

  • 2b. Students know when an object is subject to two or more forces at once, the result is the cumulative effect of all the forces.
  • 2d. Students know how to identify separately the two or more forces that are acting on a single static object, including gravity, elastic forces due to tension or compression in matter, and friction.
  • 2e. Students know that when the forces on an object are unbalanced, the object will change its velocity (that is, it will speed up, slow down, or change direction).

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