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Lesson Plans
Rainforest Rock

By Dory Marcus
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
 Three to four 45 minute  periods


"Voices of the Forest" tells about the Baka, an indigenous people who live in central Africa's tropical rain forest of southeastern Cameroon. Their culture is defined by the thousands of years the Baka spent living in the rain forest and is threatened by their relocation to small villages at the edge of the forest.

The rain forest provides an exciting backdrop for examining cultural and environmental issues. In this lesson students will explore video and Internet resources, enhancing their knowledge of the rain forest and the people who call it home. Through the music of the Baka students will gain an understanding of music as a reflection of culture and environment. They will create their own meaning through the creation of musical instruments, and the development of multimedia and digital presentations that focus on the future of the Baka, their music, and the rainforest.

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:

  • Discuss the impact of environmental change on people and culture
  • Create musical instruments that reflect cultural influences
  • Understand and apply musical concepts
  • Search and evaluate Internet resources
  • Collect and organize resources into meaningful presentation


From the National Standards for History, grades 5-12

Analyze cause-and-effect relationships, bearing in mind multiple causation, including a) the importance of the individual in history; b) the influence of ideas, human interests, and beliefs; and c) the role of chance, the accidental, and the irrational. (NSH 3C)

Draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues, as well as large-scale or long-term developments that transcend regional or temporal boundaries. (NSH 3D)

Media Components

Africa Episode 3 "Voices of the Forest"

Web sites:

Rain Forest Fact Sheet

This site is organized by the Rain Forest Action Network to enhance people's knowledge and understanding of the Rain Forest.


This is the official Web site and companion to the Africa series and is rich is resources for both students and adults to explore.

Baka Pygmies - Music and Dances

At this site, visitors can view a picture gallery of all aspects of Baka life.

Rain Forest Music

Here you can click on links that provide examples of different musical instruments found in the rain forest. There are both photos and audio files to review.

Instruments of the Baka Forest People

This site provides additional examples of instruments the Baka use.

Africa for Kids

Here students can learn about and play music on the African Finger Piano.


For each group of 3-4 students:

  • Sandpaper
  • Metal file
  • Hot glue gun

For each student:
  • 1" x 6" block of wood with two holes 3/4" from one end near the edge.
  • 3 twenty-penny nails
  • 7 bobby pins cut in half (flatten, file, and sand smooth)
  • 2 8/32 x 1 5/8 eye bolts and nuts
  • Small gift, candy, or packaging box
  • Student Web Organizer (See Student Materials)
  • "Looking" Student Organizer (See Student Materials)