America's Rain Forests

A Distance Learning Adventure

Prince William Network, National Forest Foundation and USDA Forest Service

Rain Forest Ecology

The following lesson plans will enable you to make the link between your local environment and rain forest ecology.

Can It Be Real

  • A beetle that drinks fog.
  • A flower that smells like rotting meat.
  • A fish that "shoots down" its prey.

Are these plans and animals for real? In this activity, your students will discover extraordinary plants and animals and will gain insight on how they are uniquely adapted to environmental conditions. CLICK HERE.

Charting Diversity
By exploring the amazing diversity of life on Earth, your students will discover how plants and animals are adapted for survival. This activity provides a basis for understanding why there are so many different species and the value of biological diversity. CLICK HERE.

Forest Food Web
Students introduce themselves as elements of a forest ecosystem and link with the other elements they need to form a forest food web. CLICK HERE.

Planet of Plenty
In this activity, students will pretend they are visitors from outer space, viewing life on Earth for the first time. By describing in minute detail all the life they find in a small plot of land, they will become more aware of the diversity of life on Earth and will better understand its importance. CLICK HERE.

Rain Reasons
Rainfall, sunlight, and temperature are important factors influencing where plants can grow and, in turn, where animals can live. In this activity, students will desgin experiments to see how these climatic factors influence the growth and lives of plants. They will use the learned principles to explore how varying climate conditions have resulted in an astounding variety of forest types in Puerto Rico. CLICK HERE.

Students stage a simple puppet show between two spotted sandpipers -- one from Puerto Rico and one from Alaska. Students learn about the temperate and tropical rain forests ecosystems through the dialogue between the characters. CLICK HERE.

Tropical Forest Food Chain
Students explore one way that interdependency is seen in tropical forests, using food chains present in the Caribbean National Forest. CLICK HERE.

Water Wonders
The water cycle is the system by which Earth's fixed amount of water is collected, purified, and distributed from the environment to living things and back to the environment. In this lesson plan, students will make connections between the water cycle and all living things. CLICK HERE.

Web of Life
Students take a close look at one particular ecosystem (a forest) and discover the ways that plans and animals are connected to each other. By substituting the appropriate information, you can use this activity to study other ecosystems, such as oceans, deserts, marshes, or praries. CLICK HERE.

What's for Dinner?
Student groups brainstorm and create the longest consumer-consumed food chain possible using either magazine pictures or research materials. CLICK HERE.


Prince William Network USDA Forest Service Caribbean, Tongass,
Chugach, and Olympic National Forests Pacific Northwest Research Station
International Institute of Tropical Forestry National Forest Foundation
Alaska Department of Fish and Game Alaska Department of Natural Resources
The Nature Conservancy Alaska Natural History Association
Southeast Island School District