Researching to Build Knowledge and Teaching Others: Biodiversity in Rainforests of the Western Hemisphere
This module—intended to be used in conjunction with a Social Studies unit about Latin America—features a close read of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World (1160L)* by Kathryn Lasky. This beautifully illustrated informational text describes the work of scientists documenting the biodiversity of rainforests. The specific literacy focus is on reading scientific and technical text as well as writing to inform and explain. In the first unit, students build basic background knowledge about the rainforest (particularly those of the Western Hemisphere), and begin to examine how scientists closely observe the natural world to then help them communicate their research through carefully organized and worded scientific text. Unit 2 focuses on a case study of Meg Lowman, the researcher featured in The Most Beautiful Roof in the World. Students then analyze the structure and function of scientific field guides and filed journals determining what quality field guides and journals look and sound like. Students research about a living thing that scientist Meg Lowman may encounter in the rainforest in her research and write with clear and effective word choice about their chosen insect of the rainforest. As the final performance task, students produce an informational report and then field journal–style pages intended for younger readers. This performance task centers on NYSP12 ELA CCSS RI.5.7, RI.5.9, W.5.2, W.5.3, W.5.4, W.5.7, W.5.8, and W.5.9.