The Great Kapok Tree
by Lynne Cherry
Grade Level: K - 7
Purpose: The Great Kapok Tree
is a great tale of conservation. IT also emphasizes the importance
of rain forests and their natural resources and scarcity. After reading
the story, students will center on the controversy of destroying the rain
forest or conserving it.
Geography Standards Addressed:
#4: The physical and human
characteristics of places.
#14: How human actions modify
the physical environment.
Indiana Social Studies Academic Standards
Social Studies: 7.4.8; 7.3.16; 7.3.1;
Science: 7.4.7; 7.4.8
Book: The Great Kapok Tree by
Map of the world
Blank piece of paper for the pros/cons list
List of products from the rainforest (Optional)
Names of the animals and child from the story
Upon completion of this lesson/activity,
students will be able to…
locate the rainforests of the world.
understand importance of natural resources
make an informed decision about rainforest
Introduce the story by discussing the location
of the Amazon rain forest and list some known animals and natural resources
that live or come from the rain forest.
Read the story.
After the story, divide the class into three
-Cutting trees with NO regulations
-Cutting trees with some regulations
-No cutting of trees at all
Have the students research various web sites
and other mediums to find information for their group to prepare for the
debate. It is very important to include the economic impact of all three
The students will debate for or against the
destruction of the rain forest using the information they have found.
After/during the debates, list the pros and
cons for each of the three. When the debates are finished; discuss
which, if any, the best alternative is.
As an assignment, the students should map
the world’s rain forest regions using their atlas for assistance.
What are the natural resources of the Amazon
rain forest? (various plants, trees, rivers and streams, etc.
Gifts of nature)
Is the rain forest becoming scarce?
If so, why? How can it be controlled or stopped? (yes, because of
uncontrolled clearing of trees. Trees can be replanted, government
regulations, penalties, etc.)
What are some products or goods that come
from the rain forest? (woods – mahogany, teak; house plants; fruits;
oils; medicines; spices; fibers; vegetables and other foods; etc)
How does global interdependence play a role
in the rain forest? (Other countries can put pressure on the countries
where rain forests are located to slow down the destruction; awareness
What are other ways to practice conservation?
(recycle, reduce, shutting of the water when brushing teeth, shorter showers….)
What are some opportunity costs of clearing
the rain forest? (Possible answers might include… destruction of
animals’ homes, clearing of trees, which in turn could contribute to the
greenhouse effect, might destroy future cures in medicine, etc…)But people
of the area need land to plant food, live, the wood in valuable; the animals
are valuable, etc.
The students shall be evaluated by their
contribution to the debate and their research skills and the completed
rain forest map.
Research different products that originate
in the rain forest.
Have the students act out the animals of the
story as you read.
Field trip: Go to the rain forest exhibit
at the Indianapolis Zoo or Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.
Raise money to purchase an acre of rainforest
to protect it from further destruction.
Read other rain forest books…
One Day in the Tropical Rain Forest
by Jean Craighead George
A Walk in the Rain Forest by Kristin
Amazon Adventure by Larry Bishof
Amazon Alphabet by Martin and Tanis