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The Rainforest and the Scientist

If you were to find an area of Earth to study, you would discover that there are many different things that could be researched. If you tried to study them all, it would take a long time to be successful. Scientists have chosen to specialize. Each scientist studies a specific part of the research area. By sharing the information that each discovers, the area becomes better understood than if just one scientist was trying to learn about.

Your mission is to research multiple ways that different scientists can investigate the same area. The area you are to investigate is "The Rainforest."

What is the Rainforest like?

The tropical rainforest is perhaps the most studied area of Earth. Tropical rainforests characteristically have the greatest variety of living species of any area of Earth. Tropical rainforests occur near the equator. The temperature varies little throughout the year. Precipitation is heavy and the soils are poor.

Your assignment:

  1. Choose one rainforest scientist to research.
  2. Use the Internet or library books to find the information.
  3. Find some friends who researched a different rainforest scientist. Combine your information to develop a report on the rainforest to your friends, family, or class.

Below is a list of possible scientists you may choose to use along with a short description about each. Click on the scientist name to get the information you need to determine their field of study as it relates to the rainforest.

Sociologist - A scientist who studies rainforest's societies and their culture.

Environmentalist - A scientist who studies environmental impact in the rain forest ecosystem.

Cartographer - Maps the rainforests of the world.

Zoologist - A scientist who studies the animals of the rainforest.

Meteorologist - A scientist who studies the weather of the rainforest.

Botanist - A scientist who studies the plants of the rainforest.

Rainforest Sociologist

Research the people of the rainforest. Explain their cultures. Research and talk about the geography of the rainforest biome. Draw and color a world map of the locations of the rainforests people and their homes around the world.

Rainforest Environmentalist

Research the environmental problems of the rainforest. Draw and color a world map to show the location of rainforests of the world. If possible, indicate on the map how rainforest sizes are changing. Suggest possible solutions to the environmental problems of the rainforest.

Rainforest Cartographer

Research, draw and color a world map that shows the location of the rainforests of the world. In your report, describe what the rainforest soil is like. Explain what conditions characterize a rainforest. Describe the different canopy layers of the rainforest.

Rainforest Zoologist

Research the many animal species of the rainforest. Be sure to describe the level of the rainforest canopy that is their home. Next, describe and diagram a typical food chain in the rainforest. What is the most unique rainforest animal?

Rainforest Meteorologist

Research the climate of the rainforest. Include in your report the temperature and precipitation information. Next, include a graph that shows the yearly change in temperature and a graph that shows the yearly change in precipitation for at least one rainforest.

Rainforest Botanist

Research the many species of rainforest plants. Describe at least two rainforest plants that have medicinal purposes. In your research project, describe and diagram a rainforest food chain with some plants and animals. Next, list the layers of the rainforest canopy and describe the plant life in each layer.

Designing your report:

  1. Include the information described for each of the scientists.
  2. Present your information in an intesting format. Examples include: various posters, a multimedia presentation, video, or other unique method.

Going Further:

Now that you have learned about the rainforest, choose another area of the world that you would be interested in studying. This could be a desert, arctic tundra, coniferous forest, or deciduous forest.

Review Science safetey rules here.

Get the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader , and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.

Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 8th grade science core.


Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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