What makes tropical rainforests so special and unique? Is it the diversity of life? The intense vegetation? Or is it the complicated interdependence of the creatures who live there?
Over the past two months, students in SK 110 have been exploring and researching various characteristics of rainforests throughout the world. They have read, watched and studied their intricate and delicate existence and have begun to discuss why rainforests are deemed "the lungs of the world." Through our investigations and discussions, we have also developed authentic gratitude for these unique biomes and discovered ways to practice tikkun olam.
In keeping with all of our investigations, we first asked our students to ponder what intrigued them most about this marvelous but essential biome. After examining a variety of printed materials and books, students used colored paper, scissors and glue to create collages that illustrated their “wonders”.
Next, after numerous non-fiction texts and interactive discussions and activities, the class began to recognize the defining characteristics, locations and inhabitants of these luxuriant forests. With this knowledge in hand, their inquiries focused on in-depth research into some of the birds that inhabit the tops of the tallest trees (otherwise known as the Emergent Layer) in the Central and South American rainforests. Students were mesmerized by the long tail feathers of the quetzals, the remarkably engineered beaks of the toucan, the unique nesting habits of the cock-of-the-rock and the nocturnal practices of the spectacled owl! Working in small groups, the class wrote answers to big questions related to these avian creatures, drew sketches and detailed drawings to refine their "scientific eyes", used their artistic skills to create nuanced paper collages and finally, they assembled all of these materials into poster board presentations that were then recorded and shared with classmates and families.
Over the remaining few weeks of their rainforest explorations, SK110 will focus on native people and look for the differences in which they pursue their daily existence, as well as spend a considerable amount of time looking at current conservation efforts and what else can be done to preserve these vital regions. Check out our Senior Kindergarten rainforest experts below!