Thursday, March 17, 2011

Unit Study: Rainforest

We officially finished our unit study on the subject of the rain forest last week.  We learned about several different animals that live in the rain forest, which allowed us to talk about vocabulary words such as mammals, nocturnal, reptiles and other variations in the animal kingdom.  We also listened to some of the sounds of the rainforest, and the children drew pictures of the animals that might make the sounds we heard.  We also studied the aquatic life in the Amazon River, and had the opportunity to visit the Newport Aquarium to see some of these creatures first hand.  It was a fantastic learning experience.

As we closed out this unit study, we had an open discussion about the way humans impact the environment.  This conversation allowed M8 and M6 the opportunity to discover on their own how our hometown is different from the rainforest in terms of nature, wildlife, and humans.  They previously watched two documentaries on the rainforest, which gave them a pretty good picture of what life there is like.  When they compared life there to our life in Kentucky, they noticed that we have less, trees, less animals, more people, more trash, more cars, and more buildings.  From there, we discussed how Lexington, KY is different from Manchester, KY (where their grandparents live), and found many of the same differences.  It was a very interesting conversation, and one that helped them to make a connection between a subject we are studying in school and our own day-to-day life.

Also during our last week, we discussed where on earth rainforests are found, and how their weather is different from our weather in Kentucky.  This led us into our final unit study of our school year, which is centered around Spring/Gardening.