What is a Forest

Forest Habitats

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Forest Habitats

Visit deciduous and evergreen forests to see the plants and animals that make this ecosystem their home. Discover how living things change over time and adapt to their surroundings. Learn that living things depend upon their environment and upon each other to survive.

Visit deciduous and evergreen forests to see the plants and animals that make this ecosystem their home.

  1. Students will understand that a habitat is a place where animals and plants live. Also, realize that a habitat provides food, water, and shelter for animals, as well as water, soil, and sunlight for plants.
  2. Students will know that a forest is a large area that contains many trees and plants; sometimes forests are called woodlands.
  3. Students will identify the three major types of forests included in the video, and be able to recognize the characteristics of the trees that live in the forests.
    1. Deciduous Forest — Deciduous forests are located in the eastern United States and parts of Canada. Throughout the year, deciduous forests experience a hot summer, a mild spring and fall, and a very cold winter. Deciduous trees lose their leaves during the fall to conserve water during the winter.
    2. Evergreen Forest — Evergreen forests are located across the U.S. and Canada. Evergreen trees do not lose their leaves or needles all at once; they are lost continually throughout the year. Like most forests, evergreen forests obtain water from rain and snow; however, in coastal regions, evergreens also absorb water in the form of fog. Some evergreen forests are coniferous, containing firs, pines, and/or hemlocks. Coniferous trees grow their seeds in cones and have thin, stiff, waxy leaves called needles; the waxy coating on the needles of coniferous trees helps to prevent water from evaporating off the needles.
    3. Mixed Forests — Mixed forests contain a combination of deciduous and evergreen trees and plants.
  4. Students will understand how the animals that live in forests adapt to seasonal changes.
    1. In the spring and summer there is plenty of food (plants, insects, and other animals) and water in the forests for animals to consume.
    2. In the fall animals continue to eat; they are preparing for the winter months by storing up food either as fat or in their shelters.
    3. During the winter, food and water are scarce. Therefore, animals have to work harder to find food (some dig into the soil to find food); some animals are forced to eat twigs, buds, and bark. Many times the lakes and streams from which animals drink are frozen; consequently, the animals must find other sources of water (some of the food they eat contains water).
  5. Students will realize that animals, trees and other plants, and soil are important to each other, and that they affect each other in a cyclic pattern.
    1. Trees and other plants obtain nutrients from the soil.
    2. The soil is held in place by tree and plant roots.
    3. Animals use trees and other plants for food and shelter.
    4. Animals will eat the seeds off of plants and scatter them throughout the forest, allowing new plants to grow.
    5. Animals and plants die and decay, enriching the soil with nutrients used by plants and trees.
  6. Students will know that a forest is divided into different parts.
    1. Canopy — The canopy is a covering that is formed when the leaves and branches of all the trees touch. The canopy provides shade and shelter for the life below. In deciduous forests, the canopy is bare during the winter months, allowing sunlight into the forest. Many predatory birds live in the canopy, which gives them a good view of their prey.
    2. Understory — The understory is located just below the canopy and extends to the forest floor. It includes shrubs, plants, mosses, birds, raccoons, possums, insects, and even cats.
    3. Forest floor — The forest floor is the very bottom of the forest. It is cool, shady, and slightly wet. A lot of action takes place on the forest floor: chipmunks and birds gather food; spiders, frogs, and salamanders catch insects for food; fungi, insects, and worms eat the dead matter on the forest floor and decompose it into nutrient-rich soil.

  1. Before viewing the video

    1. Anticipatory Set: Bring in enough green fall leaves (if possible) and evergreen needles in a bag for the class. Each child picks one leaf to touch, smell, and observe. Ask: What is special about the leaf? What color is it? What color would it be in the season opposite this one? What are trees that change color in the fall called?
  2. After viewing the video

    1. Art: Make a cut, tear, and paste mixed forest. Materials needed for each child: 1 sheet each of 9" 12" blue (sky) and brown (deciduous trees) construction paper; 1/2 sheet each of green (evergreen trees), red, yellow, and orange (fall leaves), white (clouds), and yellow (sun). Draw and cut out green triangle trees for evergreens. Draw and cut out "lollipop" shaped trees using the brown paper. Tear the autumn-colored papers into small pieces and paste the pieces on the round part of the brown trees to make deciduous trees. Cover the lower portion of the blue paper brown (forest floor). Overlap the different trees as in a mixed forest. Add a sun and clouds. The class writes individual paragraphs of what they found most interesting. Paste the paragraph to the back of the artwork.
    2. Language Arts: Make a Forest Habitats Language Arts Game. Have each child write a simple sentence using a noun, adjective, verb, and adverb based on something in the video. If the class is unable to write the sentences, develop a class list. Cut out thirty 2" squares each of red, yellow, green, and blue to make 120 squares. Using the sentences, print nouns on the blue squares, verbs on red, adjectives on green, and adverbs on yellow. Turn all cards facedown. In turn, each child picks a square of each color. Using the 4 squares, the student makes a sentence, adding articles, and reads it. The child identifies whether or not the sentence is logical.


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