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Rain Forest Products

By Meg Milani



ABSTRACT

Students move from lab station to lab station observing samples of products from the Rain Forest. At each station they record the name of the product, write a description and sketch a diagram of the product. For homework, students prepare and advertisement for the Rain Forest and its products.

TYPE OF ACTIVITY

  • Hands on activity
  • Inquiry Lab
  • Target audience

  • Life Science
  • Integrated Science 1 or 2
  • Environmental Science
  • Special Needs
  • Special Education

  • BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR TEACHER

    The list of products in the materials section includes many of the more common items. You may need to want to have a cookbook handy to help students find uses for unfamiliar food and spice items. Empty boxes of some of the items can be saved from year to year. (i.e. I save the empty box from the Rain Forest Crunch candy/cookies and cocoa boxes) The students tend to like to eat the nuts and the sweet items. I haven't had much problem with them trying to eat the avocado or the lemons. I also have a rain stick (made by the Indians in the Rain Forests) and that is at one station. I also bring out the posters I have on the Rain Forests so the student really gets the feeling of what a Rain Forest is like. If you had "extra funds" it might be fun to have the students sample the edible items.

    PREPARATION TIME NEEDED

    The preparation time consists collecting and purchasing the items. You then need 20-30 minutes to make station numbers and set each item at a station.

    Class time needed
    One or two 45-50 minute periods. When you give them more time, some of the students spend considerable effort on their drawings.

    MATERIALS

    FOOD PRODUCTS

    Fruits and Vegetables (purchased at the local grocery store )
  • avocado
  • banana
  • grapefruit
  • guava
  • lemon
  • lime
  • mango
  • orange
  • papaya
  • pineapple
  • plantain
  • sweet potato
  • SPICES AND FLAVORS

  • allspice
  • black pepper (whole and ground)
  • cardamom
  • cayenne (red pepper)
  • chili pepper
  • chocolate / cocoa (products)
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • ginger (fresh and ground)
  • mace
  • nutmeg (whole and ground)
  • paprika
  • turmeric
  • vanilla (liquid and whole bean)
  • OTHER FOOD PRODUCTS

  • Brazil nuts
  • cashew nuts
  • coconut (whole and shredded)
  • coffee (beans and ground)
  • macadamia nuts
  • tapioca
  • tea
  • HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

  • African violet
  • Begonia
  • bird's-nest-fern
  • bromeliads
  • Christmas cactus
  • Rosy Periwinkle
  • GUMS AND RESINS

  • rubber (balloons, erasers, balls, rubber bands, gloves, tires)
  • chicle (chewing gum)
  • copal (varnish, printing ink)
  • dammar (varnish, lacquer)
  • MEDICINES

  • ipecac
  • quinine
  • The following items may have originated in other types of topical habitats near rain forests:
    potato, tomato, yam, corn, peanuts, rice, sesame seeds, sugar, teak

    INSTRUCTIONS TO THE STUDENT

    (on the day of the walk around lab)

    You have been hired to promote products from the Rainforest. For each station, you are to name the item, describe it, draw it and describe why a consumer would want to use this item. You will be given approximately 1-2 minutes per station to do all the mentioned activities.

    HOMEWORK

    Look around your house to find any additional woods, canes, spices, food products or oils which you did not see in class. Add these item to your list. After you have completed your list with the name, description and drawing of each item, you need to prepare an ad which promotes the Rain Forest. Attach your ad to your list of products.

    METHODS OF EVALUATION

    A lab practical can be used to test to determine whether or not students have learned the names and the products of the rainforest.

    EXTENSIONS

    Have the students research one or more of these products. The following questions could be included in the research. • What part of the plant does your product come from? • Do/did the native people use your product? How? • How/when was your product discovered? Is your product processed? • Does your product grow anywhere else now? • Are there any substitutes for the product?

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    Resources and ideas for the above activity came from the National Wildlife Federation's Ranger Rick Nature-Scope on Rain Forests: Tropical Treasures with their Copycat Page: Rain Forest Pantry (which can be copied for student use) National Wildlife Federation, 1400 16th St. NW. Washington, DC 20036-2266.


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