Learn about Rainforest Journey

Rainforest Journey uses theme-based learning to teach the life science component of the elementary science curriculum and covers the same concepts in increasing complexity for grades K-5. Our program has been efficacy tested; see results here.

Two versions are available:
1. core curriculum with multiple components for individual classrooms or home users
2. supplemental curriculum for school site license

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Program Components - Core Curriculum for Individual Classrooms


  • 30 lessons cover the life sciences curriculum for grades K-5
  • teacher resources include Program Planning and NGSS Scope and Sequence documents
  • NGSS-alignment helps students meet grade band endpoints
  • media-rich lessons with read-aloud audio option
  • lesson reading passages are Lexile-scored and are a high-interest source of nonfiction reading
  • flexible interface accommodates differentiated learners


  • classroom management allows teachers to monitor class progress and assessment results
  • formative assessments at the end of each of 12 chapters
  • summative assessments at the end of each of 5 units
  • formative assessments aligned with Common Core ELA standards
  • summative assessment questions aligned with NGSS standards
  • grade book for summative assessments included
  • question types include multiple choice, open-ended, and depth-of-knowledge


  • hands-on, field-tested activities can be done in the classroom or at home
  • activities reinforce science concepts, encourage critical thinking, and make science come alive
  • uses easily-found materials
  • includes student pages and complete teacher guides
  • optional add-on for Problem-based Learning Activities is available

Primary Sources

  • 3 types of primary sources reinforce science and literacy skills
  • expert interviews of scientists and naturalists
  • trip journal of mother-son photo/video team
  • unedited video clips of plant and animal life from the rainforest
  • lessons have links to related primary sources; good for reinforcement
  • high-interest content for reading informational text

Enrichment Materials

Structural Adaptations Illustration Educational Illustrations
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Curriculum Units and Descriptions

Unit 1

The Big Picture

This unit explores basic questions about this fascinating environment. What elements make a forest a rainforest? What are the different parts of the forest called? Light and water - and lots of it - are very important to the living things of the rainforest, but why?
Overview of the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest

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Unit 2

Adapt or Die!

Adaptations for survival in the rainforest environment range from subtle to spectacular, from delicate camouflage to deadly poison. All creatures, including plants, have protective strategies to help keep from becoming someone else’s meal.
Venus Flytrap

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Unit 3


In addition to learning interesting details about many familiar animals such as lizards, monkeys, and frogs, users will be introduced to less familiar creatures, such as pink dolphins, three-toed sloths, and giraffe weevils.

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Unit 4

Plants & Fungi

The rainforest is jam-packed with green and filled with plant life from tiny to towering. Readers will learn about different types of plants, such as trees, vines, mosses, ferns, and flowers. There are vines that kill trees, plants that roll up when touched, and plants that eat meat. Find out why fungi are essential to the survival of the rainforest, as well.

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Unit 5


The rainforest is actually a very efficient ecosystem. Every living thing depends upon other living things in the forest. They fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Students learn about intricate and amazing connections between living things in the rainforest. Humans are part of the puzzle, as well. Their actions can help the forest – or harm it.
Fruit Seed

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View Sample Scope and Sequence Document

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Lesson Samples

Lesson Sample Grade K Turtle

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Lesson Sample Grade 1 Borneo Orangutan

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Lesson Sample Grade 2 Boat in Rainforest River

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Lesson Sample Grade 3 Two Macaws

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Lesson Sample Grade 4 Two Butterflies

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Lesson Sample Grade 5 Rainforest Overview

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Video Intro to
Rainforest Journey

Opigno LMS 1.18.0
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