Researching the Rain Forest

Presented by: Marilyn Teicher

Subject Area(s):

Grade Level(s):


Second graders will research rain forests using teacher-librarian (TL) selected resources, videos, and other media. Using the Independent Investigative Method, the project includes collaborative questioning, vocabulary development, note taking, highlighting, and beginning summarization



Day 1

Modeling and guided practice:

The TL will use a KWL chart to explore what students already know and want to know about rain forests.  The TL will read The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry to the class.  After listening to the book, students will add facts, what they learned, to the KWL chart.


Day 2

Independent practice:

Students will work in pairs to explore websites (preselected by TL) about the rain forest.  Each student will receive one slip of paper.  They will write a question on this slip of paper relating to what they would like to know about the rain forest, based on their website exploration.  These slips will be posted to a rain forest web chart.  The class will categorize each question as it is posted.  When this is completed, each question should be placed in a category relating to the rain forest, such as plants, animals, etc.


Day 3

Direct instruction:

IMM, Independent Investigative Method, will be explained and discussed with the class and goals will be set.


Independent practice:

As a class, students will use three sources (selected by TL) to discover 10 new vocabulary words and list 20 new facts relating to the rain forest.


Day 4

Modeling and guided practice:

The concept and purpose of note taking will be discussed and demonstrated to the class by the TL (classroom teacher will previously have provided a brief introduction to note taking).  TL will read two to three pages from a nonfiction book about the rain forest aloud.  During reading, students will raise their hand each time they hear a fact they feel is important.  Students will share their fact with the class in their own words and the note will be made on chart paper.


Day 5

Modeling and guided practice:

TL will model highlighting important facts from an online article.  The first page of an internet article about the rain forest will be projected on the SmartBoard and the TL will present a think aloud to demonstrate highlighting while reading each paragraph.  Students will help select important facts to practice paraphrasing. Students will work in pairs to highlight the next two pages of the same online article used in the think aloud.  Students will share their note-facts and the TL will record them on chart paper.

Day 6

Direct instruction:

Students will watch a movie about the rain forest and raise their hand when they hear a fact that they feel is important, which the TL will note on chart paper.  The facts collected on chart paper following the video will be cut into individual facts and distributed to students in groups of four. 


Modeling and guided practice:

TL will model how to decide in which category to place each fact using a rain forest web chart like the one used on day 3.  Students will decide in their groups to which category their facts belong.


Day 7

Independent practice:

Each student will select a category to write a short paragraph about using research that has been collected throughout the week.  When students have written and edited their work, they will draw a picture depicting a scene from the rain forest based on their written paragraph. 


Sharing and reflecting:

Pictures and paragraphs will be transferred to a square piece of paper, and students will informally share what they learned with their classmates.  The individual squares will be combined to make a class quilt to be displayed in the classroom. Students, as a class, will reflect on their research and learning process.