Grade Level: Early
1. Students will draw
a picture and label the layers of a rain forest in
map of Africa
highlighting where the rain forests are
2. Copy of
in the Forests"
on chart paper. By Debby DePauw from Fun in the Rain
Forest. Evan-Moor Corp. p. 7.
3. Pictures of
the rain forest. Pictures can be found in book such
Life in the Rain
Forests by Lucy Baker. pp. 4, 8-9,
A Walk in the Rain
Forest by Kristin Joy Pratt. pp. 8, 10, 12,
Explore the World
of Exotic Rain Forests by Anita Ganeri. pp. 24-45
Tropical Rain Forest by Madeline
At Home in the
Rain Forest by Diane Willow.
4. 1 piece of
white construction paper for each student (9"x12") with
dotted lines, dividing the paper into
1. Ask students,
"Have you ever been in a rain forest?" When most
students reply no, explain to them that today they will be
exploring what a rain forest in Africa looks
2. Show students
map of Africa and ask them, "What do you notice about
the location of the rain forests?"
3. When students
reply that they are close together, explain to them that the
reason for that is that rain forests need warm temperatures
and lots of rain. These are conditions you find here
(point to the equator). Inform students that the
imaginary line, known as the equator, is located at the
widest part of the earth between the poles.
point out to students that most of Africa is not a rain
forest; that only one fifth of Africa is actually rain
5. Ask students
"Are you ready to take a trip into the rain forest?"
Have students sing the song "Layers in the Forest" with
you. (Read from chart paper.)
repeating the song, ask students to recall what they
remember about each layer. Some questions could
be: "What is the name of the top layer?", "What
kind of trees are located in canopy?", "What can you
find on the bottom floor?" If necessary, repeat the
song until students can recognize the four layers of the
students have recognized the four layers, hand out the piece
of white paper so they can make a picture showing the layers
of the rain forest.
8. To have
students make the picture of the rain forest, discuss
each layer, one at a time. Start at the top and
proceed to the bottom. Display pictures to help
students illustrate their picture. When students are
finished, have them label the top of their page "African
Rain Forests." Also have students label the name of
each rain forest layer.
9. Discuss each
layer briefly. The top layer, known as the emergent
layer is the top of the rain forest. You can see a few
tall trees that grow higher than all others. Have
students draw a few very tall trees on their
10. The canopy is
where the trees form a roof that protects plants and animals
from the wind and heavy rain. There are many fruit
trees at this level. Have students draw several trees
that are medium high.
11. The next
layer is the understory. The understory is quite dark
because not much sunlight comes through. Palm trees
and short trees with big leaves live at this level.
Show pictures and allow students to draw plants at this
12. Explain that
the forest floor is where small plants such as ferns
live. It is very dark at this level. Show
picture of a fern and allow students to draw this layer on
students have finished illustrating their pictures ask them
questions such as: "Who can tell me the name of the
four layers?", "What does the forest floor look
like?", "What layer does fruit grow at?",
"What layer would you be at if you weren't protected from
the rain and wind?"
1. Assess accuracy of
pictures and picture titles.
2. Assess student
answers at end of lesson.