Animals of the Rainforest

Name: Diana Pyatigorsky                          

Subject: Science

Lesson Title: Animals of the Rainforest

Grade: Fifth


  • Kids Discover Rainforest magazine
  • Scholastic Rainforest magazine
  • Animals of the Rainforest Article, Vocabulary Worksheet, Animal List and Adaptation Chart
  • My Animal Handout
  • Crayons
  • Pencils
  • Markers
  • Colored Pencils

Pre-assessment of Students Knowledge & Skills: (A) Students have been immersed in a unit on the rainforest. Students have explored the components of a rainforest but are lacking in-depth knowledge of the animals and plants of the rainforest.

(B)Students were able to accurately describe the diverse animal population in the rainforest. They completed a K-W-L Chart on and used several resources to develop knowledge.

Content-Specific Standard(s):

English Language Arts

Key Idea: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Gather and use information for research purposes; demonstrate competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning.

RI.5.7. Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

RI.5.9. Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.


Standard 7: Observe, identify and record the component of a rainforest ecosystem.

Standard: Life Science: Understand how species depend on one another and on the environment for survival.

The Arts

Standard 1: Creating, Performing, and Participating in the Arts Students will actively engage in the processes that constitute creation and performance in the arts (dance, music, theater, and visual arts) and participate in various roles in the arts.


Students will identify features that help animals survive in their environment.

Students will become rainforest animal “experts” by researching a rainforest animal and its adaptive features.


Introduction: Teacher will initiate a discussion of animals that have special adaptive features. Students will brainstorm what they know about adaptation and discuss the animals that they know have adapted to their environment.

Teacher will introduce key vocabulary: prehensile tail, predator, prey, camouflage, food chain, carnivore, herbivore and adaptation. Students will work individually to fill in the vocabulary worksheet.

Students will read the Animals of the Rainforest article.

Direct instruction 15 min: Teacher will lead a discussion on the Animals in the Rainforest article, including the details of adaptation. Teacher will model picking out and animal to research, using resources and gathering information about the animal. Teacher will model creating a description and illustration of the chosen animal and its adaptation features.

Work Time 20 min: Teacher puts on soft rainforest music.

Students will divide into pairs or small groups to choose one rain forest animal to research. Students will use their resources, (books, magazine, and articles) to gather information on their animal and its adaptations. Students will complete a report including an illustration for the animal as well as a written description of the animal’s physical characteristics, behavior, adaptive features, habitat and diet.

Closure 10 min: Students will present their animal reports to the class.

Assessment: Students will be assessed by their ability to: define key vocabulary words, fill in the Adaptation Chart using clues from the Animals of the Rainforest Article and complete their animal report.

Teacher will assess understanding during conference time and during the share. Ask follow up questions if students are not confident with their explanations. Students will be assessed for their activity participation, their participation as audience members and their working material. Student project work will be reviewed against the rubric below.

Diversity: This lesson continues the work of opening a window into different modalities of learning such as Collaborative and Flexible grouping, scaffolding, varied time allowance, multiple intelligences, varied demonstrations, simulations, use of visuals and role play.


“A hands-on activity supports students who struggle with verbal skills” (Cornett, 2011). Using visual and tactile skills, students that struggle with writing are able to use the images to show that they understand the content. This lesson also supports concreteness of the topic with the use of pictures, labels and names.

 Animals of the Rainforest Article

Animals of the Rainforest
In the rain forests you can find more kinds of animals than anywhere else in the world. Rain forests have many layers of vegetation so there is room for various animals to thrive. Imagine an anteater on the forest floor passes by an ocelot. The ocelot jumps up onto a tree branch next to a snake. The snake slithers up a liana toward a monkey. The monkey climbs up the tree even further to find a toucan resting at the top!Because the trees are so high, many rain forest animals have special features that help them to climb more easily. For example, monkeys, opossums, anteaters, and climbing porcupines have a prehensile tail. Prehensile tails act as a fifth limb that animals use to help them climb. An animal can also anchor itself to a tree branch using its tail, allowing it to find insects, pick fruit, and fight predators with its hands.Tree frogs have adapted to life in the trees as well. Tree frogs have suction pads on their feet in order to cling onto slippery leaves and branches. They also have flaps of skin between their toes that act like parachutes, helping the frogs to glide from one tree to the next as if they were flying. In the rain forest, living things depend on each other in order to survive. This is called a food chain. Plants are at the beginning of the chain. Plants make their own food from water and sun. Some animals eat only plants, fruit, and nectar. These plant eaters, such as the sloth, are called herbivores. Plant eaters are prey for carnivores, animals that eat other animals. These meat eaters, such as the harpy eagle and the jaguar, prey on birds, mice, lizards, monkeys and sloths.Some animals have special ways to defend themselves from predators. Arrow‐poison frogs are very colorful, warning other animals that they are poisonous and should not be eaten.Chameleons can change color so that they blend into their surroundings and are hard to see. Many other animals use camouflage as well, so they will blend into the background; a sloth is covered in green algae and blends into the leaves; the jaguar has a spotted coat and blends into the dappled light. Camouflaged, these animals can either hide from their predators or hide from their prey in order to launch a surprise attack! The rain forest is home to millions of colorful animals and insects. Which rain forest animal is your favorite? With so many to choose from, it may be a hard decision to make!

Rainforest Project Rubric

  4 3 2 1 Score
Content Contains accurate and clearly explained factual information about the Rainforest Contains accurate, factual information about the Rainforest Contains mostly accurate information about the Rainforest Contains  many inaccuracies about the Rainforest  
Chart/Graph Contains a clear title. Clearly demonstrates mastery of subject knowledge. Has accurately completed checklist Contains a title. Demonstrates subject knowledge. Has somewhat accurately completed checklist Contains an unclear title. Demonstrates little mastery of subject knowledge. Has completed checklist Contains no title. Does not demonstrate mastery of subject knowledge. Has not completed checklist  
Mechanics Correct spelling and grammar Mostly correct spelling and grammar Some mistakes in spelling and grammar Many mistakes in spelling and grammar  
Presentation Neat, creative enticing display Neat display Sloppily compiled Sloppily compiled with missing information  

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