Lead your students on an exploration of tropical rainforests around the world visiting Borneo, Madagascar, Costa Rica, and the Amazon!. These hands-on activities explore topics including rainforest layers, animal adaptations, rainforests soils, and plant-animal interactions.

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 K - 3.


  • curriculum binder
  • jungle layers hanging poster and tripod
  • camouflage backgrounds and animal transparencies
  • whole walnuts, plastic insects, plastic fruit, and water vial
  • tongs, tweezers, nutcrackers, and straws
  • 24 plastic bowls
  • 1 timer
  • soil sampler
  • 2 examples of soil cores
  • 8 apple corers
  • blue morpho butterfly specimen
  • 2 dung beetle puppets and faux dung ball
  • 1 blue morpho butterfly puppet
  • butterfly and dung beetle stages of metamorphosis cards and photos
  • inflatable globe
  • Books: "The Living Rainforest: An Animal Alphabet" by Paul Kratter; "The Great Kapok Tree" by Lynne Cherry; "Rainforest Revealed" by Jen Green; "Fernando's Gift" by Douglas Keister; "Journey of the Red-Eyed Tree Frog" by Martin and Tanis Jordan; "The Most Beautiful Roof in the World" by Kathryn Lasky
  • DVD: "World's Last Great Places: Rain Forest"



Tropical Belt: Identify the locations of tropical rainforests on a world map and make a fashionable belt to help you remember where they are found.

Beetles and Butterflies, What a Surprise!: Learn the life cycles of beetles and butterflies and hear a story about a very special beetle named Douglass.

Jungle Layers: Learn the plants and animals that inhabit different layers of the rainforest with a beautiful hanging poster and an entertaining "Jungle Layers" song.

Superb Soil Science: Learn that soils in different locations have different layers and colors, learn how scientists take a soil sample, and take your own mini-samples from layered brownies and blondies!

Camouflage - On the Look Out!: Learn the importance of camouflage for survival in the rainforest environment, choose the best environments for different organisms to hide in, and create your own hidden pictures of camouflaged animals.

A Bill Full!: Experiment with different tools as you learn how the shapes of birds bills are adapted for the foods they eat.

Training available in Fall 2017

teachers with certficates

Become eligible to rent this kit by attending a teacher workshop!

Saturday, December 2, 2017
8:30 am - 12:30 pm

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.


Life Sciences

  • 2a. Students know how to observe and describe similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of plants and animals (e.g., seed-bearing plants, birds, fish, insects).
  • 2b. Students know stories sometimes give plants and animals attributes they do not really have.
  • 2c. Students know how to identify major structures of common plants and animals (e.g., stems, leaves, roots, arms, wings, legs).

Investigation and Experimentation

  • 4e. Communicate observations orally and through drawings.

Grade One

Life Sciences

  • 2a. Students know animals eat plants or other animals for food and may also use plants or even other animals for shelter and nesting.
  • 2b. Students know both plants and animals need water, animals need food, and plants need light.
  • 2c. Students know how to infer what animals eat from the shapes of their teeth (e.g., sharp teeth: eats meat; flat teeth: eats plants).
  • 2e. Students know roots are associated with the intake of water and soil nutrients and green leaves are associated with making food from sunlight.

Investigation and Experimentation

  • 4b. Record observations and data with pictures, numbers or written statements.

Grade Two

Life Sciences

  • 2a. Students know that organisms reproduce offspring of their own kind and that the offspring resemble their parents and one another.
  • 2b. Students know the sequential stages of life cycles are different for different animals, such as butterflies, frogs, and mice.

Earth Sciences

  • 3c. Students know that soil is made partly from weathered rock and partly from organic materials and that soils differ in their color, texture, capacity to retain water, and ability to support the growth of many kinds of plants.
  • 3e. Students know that rock, water, plants, and soil provide many resources including food, fuel, and building materials, that humans use.

Investigation and Experimentation

  • 4a. Make predictions based on observed patterns and not random guessing.
  • 4b. Measure length, weight, temperature, and liquid volume with appropriate tools and express those measurements in standard metric system units.
  • 4d. Write or draw descriptions of a sequence of steps, events, and observations.

Grade Three

Life Sciences

  • 3a. Students know plants and animals have structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.
  • 3b. Students know examples of diverse life forms in different environments, such as oceans, deserts, tundra, forests, grasslands, and wetlands.
  • 3c. Students know living things cause changes in the environment in which they live: some of these changes are detrimental to the organism or other organisms, and some are beneficial.
  • 3d. Students know when the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; others die or move to new locations.

Physical Sciences

  • 1a. Students know energy comes from the Sun to Earth in the form of light.
  • 2a. Students know sunlight can be blocked to create shadows.

Investigation and Experimentation

  • 5c. Use numerical data in describing and comparing objects, s, and measurements.
  • 5d. Predict the outcome of a simple investigation and compare the result with the prediction.

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