Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans

Rain Forest Reporters
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into four sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Extensions -- Additional Activities.
Tips -- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


  • Tape or paste.
  • Scissors.
  • Traditional art supplies for creating pictures.
  • Examples of scientific magazines for children, such as National Geographic's WORLD (also available online at
  • Non-fiction books, magazines, and journals that relate to rain forest topics.
Computer Resources:
You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95.

Additional Hardware:
  • A camera (optional) that would allow the facilitator to take photos of reporters to include in their section of the magazine.
  • A scanner (optional).
  • A printer.
Additional Software:
  • A word processing program, such as Microsoft Word.
  • A multimedia program, such as PowerPoint (optional).
For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

The following sites should be bookmarked:

  • Manu: Peru's Hidden Rain Forest

    This site is part of PBS's THE LIVING EDENS online companion piece.

  • Science in the Rain Forest

    PBS and Turner Adventure Learning's "Science in the Rain Forest" electronic field trip lets visitors experience the rain forest in Costa Rica.


    WNET's online companion piece to GOING PLACES.

  • World Wildlife Fund

    The Web site of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an environmental organization that funds guard posts, guard training, outboard motors, and patrol canoes within Peruvian rain forests.

  • Rain Forest Expeditions

    Rain Forest Expeditions is a Peruvian ecotourism company that owns two lodges in the Tambopata Region, where all the footage of the harpy eagles and macaws was filmed for PBS's THE LIVING EDENS. Visit this Web site for information about Peru's natural history, tours, research centers, and projects.

  • The Exploratorium's "What's New in the World"

    Travel with Jim Spadaccini into the Amazon rain forest at the San Francisco Exploratorium's Web site.

  • Table of Contents of Funny Farm Exotics Web Page

    Students can learn about the brightly plumed macaw, the endangered parrots of the rain forest. Visitors learn about conservation efforts of the International Aviculturalist Society and World Parrot Trust.

  • Rain Forest Action Network

    Rain Forest Action Network's Web site contains information about their efforts to protect the earth's rain forests.

  • Rain Forest Alliance

    An international, non-profit environmental organization dedicated to tropical forest conservation, Rain Forest Alliance takes visitors on an interactive jungle journey.

  • Tropical Rain Forest in Suriname

    A guided tour around the rain forest in Suriname, with pictures and sounds. The site includes information about botany, animals, and rain forest inhabitants.


    Visitors who go to "Episode #109 -- Rain Forests: Under the Canopy" can find information about rain forest animals.

  • Australian Tropical Rain Forests

    The site explores plant taxonomy and bio-geography research projects in the rain forests of Australia.

  • Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Program

    This site is dedicated to the protection of the endangered mammal and its habitat, the Atlantic coastal rain forests of southeastern Brazil.

  • The Rain Forest Database

    A collection of text and images for educational use about rain forests.

  • Virtual Trek in a Sumatran Rain Forest

    Middle school students and their teacher from an international school in Saudi Arabia conduct scientific investigations in the Sumatran rain forest that focus on the relationship between Buddhism and the rain forest.

  • Yahooligans

    This search engine, designed with kids in mind, is a great place to look for sites specific to curriculum topics, including rain forests.

    Time Allotment:
    This activity will require approximately 10 class periods.

  • When students enter the classroom, introduce yourself as the editor of a new scientific magazine for children that covers our world's rain forests. Tell students that they will act as magazine reporters and will research and write articles, puzzles, poems, and fun activities to include in the magazine. After giving an introduction to rain forests (climate, plant and animal life, environmental issues, and so on), ask the class to decide what aspects of the ecosystem they would like to cover in the magazine.

  • Have students explore other children's scientific magazines. They should study the elements of a magazine and the writing styles of the authors.

  • As a group, discuss the style of writing found in the different parts of the magazines (e.g., editorials, letters, features, puzzles, and games). Discuss the way each type of writing is similar and different. You may want the class to write some articles as a group to get a feel for the type of writing included. Decide on the major sections of the class's magazine. Break the class into departments. Each department will produce one section of the magazine. Each department should choose an editor who will coordinate the different aspects of the project.

  • Have students start working on their individual sections of the magazine. Distribute the Student Pathway, in Organizers for Students, to help students conduct Web research about their topics.

  • Distribute Focus Your Project, in Organizers for Students. Students will use this worksheet to make content decisions, complete their section of the magazine, and answer questions about the development process.

  • When final drafts of all sections are completed, the class should decide on a title and logo for the magazine. You can hold design competitions, vote on the best design, and use the winning masthead, logo, and title for the magazine.

  • You should decide on the final medium of the magazine: paper or multimedia. If time and facilities permit, you can have your students produce both.

    Producing a paper magazine: Groups should produce their sections of the magazine in a word-processing document. The class should decide on the layout of the magazine. You can use the layout of other children's scientific magazines as a guide. Assign a production committee to cut and paste everyone's project onto 8 1/2 by 11 sheets of paper. If you have access to a photocopier, photocopy the pages and distribute the magazine to your students.

    Producing a multimedia magazine presentation using PowerPoint: Use the PowerPoint Overview, in Organizers for Students, to give your students a tutorial in using the program. Other programs, such as Kid Pix, ClarisWorks, and HyperStudio, could be used to create similar multimedia presentations. Each group should create a slide of their section of the magazine. After the class chooses the order of the magazine presentation, assign a production committee to compile all the slides into one presentation.


    Science: Teachers can extend this activity to include other types of experiments. For example, students could make their own mini-rain-forest by placing small plants in baby food jars or two-liter bottles. These should be sealed so students can watch the evaporation and condensation that is similar to that of a rain forest.

    Mathematics: Students could sell subscriptions of their magazine to friends, relatives, and teachers. They should keep track of material and labor costs. Proceeds could be donated to an environmental organization.

    Environmental Science: Students can add a section to the magazine about the acreage of rain forest cut down daily.

    Health: Students could research products that come from the rain forest, such as fruit and spices. Students could include recipes or healthy menu ideas that use these products. Students could also look at types of medicines found in the rain forest.


    One Computer in the Classroom
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your class into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (Always have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer, in order to show them examples of what to look for.) When the groups have finished working, have them switch places.

    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do Internet research together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen, go to the relevant Web site(s), and review the information presented there. You can also select a search engine page and allow your students to suggest the search criteria. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Several Computers in the Classroom
    Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked sites.

    You can also set the class up so that each computer is dedicated to certain sites. Students will then move around the classroom, getting different information from each station.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students