Brenden is Teaching


NameThe Living Rainforest:
DescriptionUnderstandings/skills to be developed:

„« Rainforests are a vital component to the Earth¡¦s natural environment
„« Different plants and animals within the rainforest rely on each other for survival
„« Human impact is having negative effects on the rainforests and other areas of the environment
„« Humans use many aspects of the rainforest for every-day living.
„« Animals and plants are becoming endangered and extinct, and rainforest sizes are decreasing.
„« We can modify our behaviour to have more positive effects on the environment and in tern help to save the diminishing rainforests.
File 1659_Rainforest Unit.doc
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Sequential Learning Experiences

Sequential LearningExperiences


Sequential LearningExperiences




Learning by design

Tuning In

Activities to engage students in thetopic

Watch the short video:

First preference to watch from, larger sizescreen,

Same as video above but allows access fromschool as its not through Google.


Ask students to consider

What animals did you see?

What plants did you see?

What was the weather like?

Students present their ideas in a YChart.


Activity: Y Chart. A rainforest sounds like, looks like, feels likechart


Activity: Class Concept Map- In what ways did you see theplants and animals relying on and interacting with eachother?


Student responses are recorded on the whiteboardas a class map stemming from the connected rainforest


Interactive Whiteboard to show the video as ashared class experience.


Experiencing the new






Experiencing the known







Conceptualising with theory

Preparing to find out

Activities that give insight into what studentsalready know and that prepare them for furtherinvestigations.

Activity: Write down everything you have done since wakingup

-what appliances have you used?

-what foods have you eaten?

-what clothes have you worn?

-highlight the things you have done, eaten and worn today which youthink would have

an impact on our rainforests.

Class brainstorming session: What is anendangered specie and what makes an animal endangered orextinct?

Activity: Graffiti- Students are divided into two groups.One group creates a concept map for what is an endangered specieand the other for what makes an animal endangered or extinct.Students swap graffiti walls and add ideas and questions to theconcept maps. Each group presents to the whole class the graffitiwall they finish with.



Analysing functionally

Finding Out

A shared experience from which students willgather new information about the topic.

Activity: Students view the Film Fern Gully: The LastRainforest


Student questions:

What would have happened to Crystaand her friends if Hexxus chopped down the entirerainforest?

Other than chopping down thetrees, how else did the humans hurt the rainforest?

Activity: Students research the main threatsto rainforests.


Activity: Students research an animal of the rainforestfrom the website


Is your animal endangered? If itis, why? If it is not, why do you think it is not?

What does your animal rely on forsurvival? (what does it eat, where
does it lay eggs, where does it like to sleep etc?)

What would happen to your animalif these things no longer existed in the rainforest?

Television, VCR or DVD player, a copy ofDisneys Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest


Computer and Internet access



Computer and Internet access




Experiencing the new


Analysing critically



Experiencing the new



Experiencing the new


Sorting Out

Activities that help students process theinformation that they have gathered.


Activity: Role play.

In small groups, students act outone human impact which is having negative effects on therainforests. For example, one group might be a logging company,another group might capture and export animals, another group mightproduce large scale pollution. The students will use theinformation obtained from Finding Out Activity 1 to dothis.



Students make their animal (FromFinding Out) from the stencil provided on the webpage they wereresearching from.

Students write on their animal theparts of the rainforest they rely on for survival to show how therainforest is interconnected.

Once they are completed, studentsplace their animal on the class rainforest mural, dividing andsorting out their animals in terms of endangered and notendangered.

Students then compare these twogroups and identify commonalities, for example, many of theendangered species rely on trees for survival. Etc.

These commonalities will beinvestigated in terms of human actions, for example, students willexplore the actions humans are undertaking which are impacting onthe environment. Eg. logging and climate change brought on by humanactions are resulting in habitat destruction; one of the mainreason for animal and specie endangerment.








Information from Finding OutActivity.








Rainforest mural board











Computer access


Analysing critically









Conceptualising by naming

Going Further

Activities that challenge and extend studentsunderstandings.

Activity: revisiting Fern Gully from a differentview-point.


Student questions:

What view is the film showing inregards to logging?

What could be some of thepositives that come from


What do humans rely on rainforestsfor?

If the rainforests were listed asprotected areas, preventing logging, what effects would it have onboth the environment and on the economy?


Activity: Students create a pamphlet using MicrosoftPublisher outlining their solution to the logging debate, cateringfor the needs of both the environment and humanconsumption.













Computer Access, Microsoft Publisher, InternetAccess.


Analysing critically










Applying creatively

Making connections

Activities that help students put it alltogether and draw some conclusions about what they havelearnt.

Activity:Students re-visit their listmade in Preparing to Find Out

Students are asked to makeamendments to their list and consider whether their daily actionsare having positive or negative impacts on therainforest.


Students are to write threepositive lifestyle changes they can make to have a positive impacton the environment.


These are shared as a classand students add to their list suggestions from other studentswhich they think they could also do.





Student lists


Analysing critically

Taking Action

Activities that give students the opportunity toact upon what they have learnt

Activity: Students are to brainstorm a viable way in whichthey can raise money as a class to adopt asmany square metres of endangered rainforest as they can for just $1per square metre. Students willalso:

Create a speech to present at assembly,encouraging other grades to participate

Write a letter to be placed in the weeklynewsletter encouraging the school community to beinvolved

Write a letter to the local paper urging thelocal community to support their cause.


Activity:Students will also investigate other ways tohelp save the rainforest, for example, by visiting thewebsite:, they are helping as the more visits the site receives, themore money sponsors of the site donate. Students can:

Set this as their homepage andclick on the link daily

Set the school computers to havethis as their homepage and

make other students aware of the benefitsit can lead to.



Activity:Students can researchseveral ways in which they can help save the rainforest by changinglifestyle contributors. Students can select the aspects they viewas easy to do and compile a list to be put in every classroomthroughout the school, as well as be attached to the take homenewsletter. Students can also write an article to the local paperoutlining how they are helping to save the rainforests andencourage them to publish their list so that the wider communitycan also become involved.


Addresses/ email addresses of relevant localnewspaper


Interactive whiteboard to explore the Daintreeadoption website as a whole class.




Computer and Internet access for research.










Students should compile a list much like the oneincluded as Appendix One.





Applying creatively

Integrated UnitPlanner: Turn off the light, itskilling the rainforest!



Pebble PrimarySchool is located in MelbournesBayside area. It is a co-educational school with the majority ofstudents enrolled coming from Melbournes middle to uppersocioeconomic class. This means that the school receives virtuallyall of its voluntary school fees. These fees allow the school tohave many special features, including classroom access for everystudent to e-mail and the internet and interactive whiteboards inalmost all classrooms. The school has an enrollment ofapproximately 483 students, with the average class size beingapproximately 25 students. The student populationcomprises 235 girls and 248 boys. Overall enrolment in recent yearshas been maintained to accommodate smaller class sizes inP-6.


Year level:Grade3/4, VELS Level 3


Characteristics of thegroup of students:

Multiculturalism isnot a key influence in the school or the individual classroom.Students in this composite class are all at the same level asoutlined by the Victorian Essential Learning Standards. In theBayside area where this school is situated, a current local issuehas arisen which the students have shown an interest in. Members ofthe local community have been cutting down the trees along thebeach front which are blocking the view of the bay. This localissue led to the discussion of human impact on the environment, andthe implications surrounding tree felling.


Focus HSE CurriculumArea/s:

Sustainability and SocialEducation

Developing SocialResponsibility Civics and Citizenship


Assessment tools:

In line with Wilson & Murdoch (2004), who state that for maximumeffectiveness, on-going assessment is crucial (p.1), groupdiscussion and participation will be the main form of assessmentfor this unit. The students will also be formally assessed on theirrole play as well as their brochure, and a deepened understandingof the topic should be demonstrated by the students when theyre-visit their original impacts on the environment list.


The Living Rainforest: t
he rainforest isan environment which supports life and is effected by humanbehaviour.





Adding to the depth oftheir intended understandings of this topic, students haveundertaken several informal lessons on geography, meaning they areable to place themselves in relation to the rest of the world.Students are able to visualise, for example, where Africa is inrelation to Australia when they learn that one of the worldsrainforests is situated in this country.

This topic on rainforestsand environmental sustainability is important to this particulargroup of students due to the increasing tension surrounding thesustainability of our environment. Students need to developinformed ideas about this topic so that they can activelyparticipate in making positive changes which affect theirfuture.

Rainforests are anintegral component of the Earth's ecosystem, covering about 7% ofthe Earth's surface. Rainforests recycle and clean water and thetrees and plants within a rainforest also remove carbon dioxidefrom the atmosphere and store it in their roots, stems, leaves, andbranches. Rainforests affect the greenhouse effect, which trapsheat inside the Earth's atmosphere. Students are constantlypresented with environmental terms such as the greenhouse effectwithout having knowledge of what it actually is and how they canhelp to reduce its impact.


Today, children arepresented with many negative images and messages in relation to thefuture and sustainability of our environment. It is important toexplore how positive actions can be carried out on a local level sothat students are empowered to act rather than feel helpless inregards to their environment. This is in line with the ideaspresented by Jones (1998) who states that ultimately, the key tocreating sustainable futures is establishing strategies totransform intentions into actions. (p.235)


Humans depend onrainforests for more than just their aesthetic appeal. It isimportant for students to be aware of and understand that theirindividual actions are having effects on the environment and inturn on rainforests. This unit is intended to show students thattheir individual actions impact on more than just other humanbeings but also other species on the planet. According to Jones(1998), the idea of future generations acknowledges ourresponsibility to leave behind a world no worse than we found itfor the use of our childrens children. (p.238) This unit intendsto do just that, as well as outlining to students the way in whichour environment is interconnected, encouraging them to becomeglobal thinkers. By understanding this, it is hoped that studentswill be encouraged to respect, understand and appreciate thenatural environment and to feel some affection and responsibilitytowards it. This is extremely important when students are imaginingtheir future. As outlined by Jones (1998), There is a needformore widespread envisioning of sustainable futures (p.241) andvisioning preferred futures is also a way of taking a more activeapproach to the rapid pace of change (p.234)


Understandings/skills to bedeveloped:


 Rainforests are a vitalcomponent to the Earths natural environment

 Different plants and animalswithin the rainforest rely on each other for survival

 Humanimpact is having negative effects on the rainforests and otherareas of the environment

 Humansuse many aspects of the rainforest for every-day living.

 Animals and plants are becomingendangered and extinct, and rainforest sizes aredecreasing.

 We canmodify our behaviour to have more positive effects on theenvironment and in tern help to save the diminishingrainforests.





Links to VELS


Level 3 standards in Civics andCitizenship



 Have theknowledge, skills and behaviours to participate in society and takeresponsible action in relation to other citizens and theenvironment at a local and broader level.

 They developknowledge about their community and environment, and a sense thatindividuals contributions can care for and improve theenvironment, their own lives and the lives of others.

 They explain whyprotection and care for the natural and built environment isimportant. (Civic knowledge and understanding)

 They describe thebenefits of action at the local level and the democratic aspects ofthe process. They participate in activities to protect and care forthe natural and built environment. (Communityengagement)


Level 3standards in Humanities


 Students developawareness and understanding of the effects of peoples interactionswith their environment and the ways in which these affect theirlives.


Level 3 standardsin English


 Students use arange of strategies to interpret the main ideas and purpose oftexts for example, interpreting figurative language or linkinginformation from headings and explore characters qualities,motives and actions.

 Throughdiscussion, students develop their understanding of whyinterpretations of a text may vary, and how the choice of subjectmatter is influenced by context, the authors purpose, and theintended audience.

 Students recognisethat speaking and listening provide opportunities to exchangeinformation, to share and explore ideas, and to express opinionsand listen to the opinions of others.

 Students developskills in listening attentively during class and group discussions,and to factual spoken texts such as audio, film and invitedpresentations. They practise identifying the topic, retellinginformation accurately, asking clarifying questions, volunteeringinformation and justifying opinions.

Victorian Curriculum andAssessment Authority 2005)































Jones, C 1998, The need to envision sustainablefutures, in D Hicks & R Slaughter (eds), World yearbook ofeducation 1998: futures education, Kogan Page, London, pp. 231 43



Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority2005, Level 3<>Accessed 15/09/2007



Wilson, J & Murdoch, K 2004, What is inquirylearning?, retrieved 21 June 2006,<>

































Ways you can help save the rainforest andbe environmentally responsible



  Recycle everything you can

  Ask your Mum or Dad to try to use phosphate-free laundryand dish soaps.

  Use cold water whenever possible.

  Don't use electrical appliances for things you can easilydo by hand, like opening cans.

  Re-use brown paper bags to line your trash can instead ofplastic liners. Re-use bread bags, butter tubs, etc.

  Store food in re-usable containers, instead of plastic wrapor aluminium foil.

  Save wire coat hangers and return them to the drycleaners.

  Take unwanted, re-usable items to a charitable organizationor thrift shop.

  Don't leave water running needlessly.

  Install a water-saving shower head.

  Set your water heater at 54.5 degrees.

  Have your water heater insulated free of charge by yourutility company.

  Turn your heat down, and wear more clothesinstead!

  Turn off the lights, TV, or other electrical applianceswhen you're out of a room.

  Burn only seasoned wood in your fireplace... and don'tlight it as often.

  Ask Mum or Dad to consider the environment when they goshopping. Tell them to avoid buying food or household products inplastic or styrofoam containers whenever possible.



  Start a compost pile.

  Put up birdfeeders, birdhouses, and birdbaths.

  Pull weeds instead of using herbicides.

  Use only organic fertilizers

  Compost your leaves and yard debris, or take them to a yarddebris recycler. (Burning them creates air pollution, and puttingthem out with the trash wastes landfill space.)

  Use mulch to conserve water in your garden.

  Take extra plastic and rubber pots back to thenursery.

  Plant short, dense shrubs close to your home's foundationto help insulate your home against cold.



  Walk or ride your bike instead of getting Mum or Dad todrive you.

  If your friends live close to you, carpool to after schoolactivities or to school.

  On the weekends, use public transport with Mum andDad

  On weekends, ride your bike or walk instead.

  Tell Mum and Dad to pump up the tires of theircar



  Use scrap paper for informal notes to yourself andothers.

  Print things on recycled paper.

  Print or copy on both sides of the paper.

  Use smaller paper for smaller memos.


  Encourage your family, friends, and neighbours to saveresources too.

  Start a club where you share interesting rainforest factswith one another, and discuss ways that you are helping to save ourrainforests and environment.