Rainforest Science

What’s Inside a Coconut??

Place a couple of coconuts, pictures of coconuts, and a sign that says “What’s Inside a Coconut??” Let the kids investigate the coconuts all week long by weighing, shaking, feeling, and discussing them. On Friday have your school custodian visit the classroom to help you open the coconut. Have him bring a variety of tools and ask the kids what they think will work to open the hard shell.
Our custodian eventually used a drill and drilled an opening in the shell, then poured the coconut milk into a pitcher, and then cut it open. We then sampled the coconut milk and made a chart to find out who liked the coconut milk and who didn’t. You could also sample some coconut and graph it at the same time!

What is the Rain Forest smell?

Make smelling jars from items that are found or originated in some Rain Forests.

You will need:

Black 35mm film containers with covers, with 3 or 4 small holes in the caps and each container numbered on the bottom. A chart with each child’s name listed in a column on the left side. The number of each film container across the top row. (You will fill in their guesses under each number later) Some ideas for smells are: A paper towel with banana extract. A piece or pineapple Shaved chocolate Instant coffee Sugar Tea leaves (just open a few tea bags!) Let the children guess what the smells are! List their guesses on chart before letting them know what it is. This is a great math activity as well.

As an extension, after you have done this with the children, place the containers in your science or discovery area for Center time (I would recommend hot gluing the caps on first).

Another Extension:

Make 2 containers for each smell you use so the children can match them up. For self correcting containers, number each container so the children can look and see if they match. For younger children, place a sticker on the bottom of each (same smells having the same stickers of course) for self correction.

Terrariums:… Fill (1) 8′ or 9″ clear plastic cup with potting soil. Cup should be about 3/4 full. Plant nonpoisonous plant cuttings, covering the roots well. (Another suggestion is to use grass seed. Sprinkle on top of soil but don’t cover.) Water lightly. Place another cup on top so that the mouths of the cup touch each other. Help the child tape both cups together. Place in a area where they can be easily see, but out of in immediate reach & in moderate sunlight. As the water in the terrarium evaporates, it condenses on top & “rains” back down on the plant.