Animals of the Rainforest

Grade Levels: 3 - 5

This lesson provides students with an opportunity to learn about the behaviors and physical characteristics of rain forest animals.


  • Students will identify features that help animals survive in their environment.
  • Students will write a research report and give an oral presentation about a rain forest animal.



  1. Introduce key vocabulary: prehensile tail, predator, prey, camouflage, food chain, carnivore, herbivore and adaptation. Ask students to fill in the vocabulary worksheet.
  2. Have students read the Animals of the Rain Forest article individually or in pairs.
  3. Ask the students to think of animals that have special adaptation features. Have them fill in the Adaptation Chart.
  4. Divide the students into pairs or small groups. Tell them to choose one rain forest animal to research. Students should use encyclopedias, magazines, books, and websites as reference materials.
  5. The report must include an illustration of the animal as well as a written description of the animal's physical characteristics, behavior, adaptive features, habitat, and diet.
  6. After the written reports are complete, have each pair of students present their findings to the class.
  7. Display the reports and illustrations in the classroom.


  • Have students list and discuss the differences and similarities between the animals of the rain forest and the animals that are found in their area.
  • Students should be able to:
    • Define key words.
    • Fill in the Adaptation Chart using clues from Animals of the Rain Forest article.
    • Write a comprehensive research report.

Extension Activities

  • Challenge students to create their own adaptation chart with more animals found in the rain forest.
  • Have students write in their journals and answer the following questions about adaptation:
    • Why do some animals shed their fur in summer and grow a thicker coat in winter?
    • Why do seals have flippers if they have the bone structure for hands like ours?
    • Why are a duck's feet webbed?

    Standards Correlations

    • Life Sciences: understands how species depend on one another and on the environment for survival; knows that an organism's patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism's environment; knows organization of simple food chains and food webs.
    • Language Arts: gathers and uses information for research purposes; demonstrates competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning.

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