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COTERC Grade 4 - Educational Resource


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Education focused on the Animals and the insects found in the Costa Rican Rainforest and the importance of conservation.

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COTERC Grade 4 - Educational Resource

  1. 1. Welcome to the rainforest. Today, we are going to go deep inside the rainforest and learn about some of the amazing creatures that live there. But first, we need to make sure we all know exactly what a rainforest is.
  2. 2. As you can guess, rainforests can be very wet places. A rainforest may receive from 400 to 1000 centimetres of rain each year. 1000 cm By comparison, Toronto receives 500 cm about 75 centimetres of rain each year. 75 cm 0 cm 0 cm
  3. 3. Rainforests are also warm places. The temperature stays between 25 – 30 Celsius all year. Now you know that rainforests are wet and warm. The rainforest makes a wonderful home for many different kinds of animals because they all need water to survive. It is also easier for animals to survive where it is warm all year.
  4. 4. Rainforests can be divided into three layers. The top layer is made up of the tops of all the rainforest trees. This layer is called the canopy. This part of the rainforest receives the most amount of sunlight and rain. Trees and plants need this sunlight and water to grow.
  5. 5. The layer below the canopy is called the understorey Notice that there is not a lot of light here. The leaves in the canopy stop most of the sunlight. Many animals call the understorey their home.
  6. 6. If we move even further below the canopy and below the understorey, we will reach the forest floor. Very few plants actually grow at this level because it is too dark. The forest floor is mostly covered in dead leaves.
  7. 7. The dead plant and animal matter on the forest floor breaks down in a process called decomposition. The nutrients from the decomposing plants and animals are important to the living plants in the rainforest.
  8. 8. When you think about where you live - or where an animal lives – and what you need – or what that animal needs – to survive, you are looking at what scientists call a habitat.
  9. 9. The rainforest provides a habitat for many living things. Your habitat is your home and your neighbourhood, because you can find everything you need to survive right there. This howler monkey’s habitat includes trees for it to climb in, leaves and fruits for it to eat, water for it to drink, and predators like the jaguar to avoid!
  10. 10. Jaguars require a large habitat, but some animals may be able to get everything that they need under a single rotting log.
  11. 11. In a habitat there are many different plants and animals that make up what is called a community of living things.
  12. 12. An ecosystem is made up of that community plus the non-living things found around it.
  13. 13. Soil, water, rocks, and air are all non-living parts of an ecosystem.
  14. 14. All living things are connected to each other, including humans. It is like a web.
  15. 15. In any food web, there are more herbivores (or plant-eaters) than there are carnivores (or meat-eaters). This iguana is a herbivore.
  16. 16. There are also many more plants than there are plant- eaters. And, there are more small animals than large animals.
  17. 17. Insects, such as this rhinoceros beetle, are the most numerous animals in rainforests.
  18. 18. Plants and animals are important to each other in all kinds of unexpected ways. For instance, this capuchin monkey drinks nectar from flowers in trees. In the process, the monkey gets pollen on its face and pollinates the flowers.
  19. 19. Let’s look at the case of the bromeliad to explore this idea further. A bromeliad is a tropical plant in the pineapple family.
  20. 20. Some bromeliads are brightly coloured and live on the branches and trunks of rainforest trees. They have a remarkable way of getting water and food.
  21. 21. Their long, curved leaves overlap at the base, forming a tight little bowl, creating a perfect water tank! The leaves act as gutters to collect rain, and the tank holds the water.
  22. 22. Scientists have found more than 250 different animal species in the tanks of bromeliads, including frogs and tadpoles, insects and insect larvae, spiders, and worms.
  23. 23. One animal that depends on the bromeliad is the poison-arrow frog. The life cycle of the poison-arrow frog has a few unusual twists! For one thing, this frog lays its eggs on land.
  24. 24. The female deposits a few eggs in a cluster of jelly under a leaf or in a small burrow in the ground. After the male frog fertilizes the eggs, he guards them until the tadpoles hatch.
  25. 25. Then the tiny tadpoles wiggle onto their mother's back, so that she can carry them to a water-filled bromeliad that she has chosen for their home.
  26. 26. The poison-arrow frog drops each tadpoles in a separate tiny pool of rainwater in the bromeliad. The tadpoles feed on algae and mosquito larvae. To be sure they have food, the female frog returns again and again to deposit a single unfertilized egg in the water for each tadpole to eat.
  27. 27. After six to eight weeks, the tadpoles emerge as frogs and return to the forest floor.
  28. 28. You have learned a lot about rainforests and the animals that live there. The rainforest is an important home for millions of species of plants and animals and they are an important part of our Earth.
  29. 29. We are quickly learning that when we remove anything in nature, something else is affected. One disappearing plant can take with it up to 30 other plant or animal species.
  30. 30. Today, we are in a position to destroy or preserve our rainforests. Species depend on each other in a complicated web of relationships, changing just one part of that web harms the entire ecosystem. As people destroy or significantly change the rainforests, certain species die out, and as they go extinct, other species die out too.
  31. 31. This breakdown of rainforest ecosystems will likely lead to the extinction of up to 10% of the world's species within the next 25 years unless we act now and stop it.
  32. 32. Many medicines that we regularly use come from rainforest species. With such a vast number of species still undiscovered, the rainforests likely hold important ingredients with which to fight diseases.
  33. 33. The rosy periwinkle flower, found in Madagascar, has been successfully used to treat several forms of cancer and a newly discovered vine in Africa may hold the key to a new AIDS treatment.
  34. 34. As more and more species disappear from the Earth, more and more sources of possible medicines slip away from us.
  35. 35. For years, the beef industry has been cutting down trees and forests for cattle ranching. This is one of the main causes of rainforest destruction.
  36. 36. So, what is being done to stop this destruction? Many organizations are hard at work, trying to do their part to preserve this unique environment.
  37. 37. For example, laws are put in place to protect endangered species of plants and animals. Laws also ban or control trade in a long list of products from animal species including Asian rhino, jaguars, parrots and apes.
  38. 38. Although rainforests cover only a small part of the world, far away from our homes, they have an effect on all of us.
  39. 39. Once rainforests are destroyed, they will be gone forever. You can do something about it. Your home provides many chances to help the rainforest: •Reduce, reuse, and recycle • Use products from the rainforest without destroying it. • Encourage local and national organizations, such as COTERC to help save the rainforest.
  40. 40. For more information about rainforests and what you can do to help, contact: The Canadian Organization for Tropical Education and Rainforest Conservation P.O. Box 335, Pickering, Ontario, Canada L1V 2R Website: Email: