rain forest pop up

Pop-Up Rain Forest

Difficulty: Easy

Learn about the four layers of the rain forest by creating your own unique pop-up model. Use this project as part of your lesson plans. Have students discuss each layer in detail and depict the appropriate plants and animals in their own models.

This project pairs well with the Mind Sparks® Eco-Puzzle.

Other Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Ruler

Lesson Plan Ideas

Art Standards
Anchor Standard #1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard #2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard #3. Refine and complete artistic work.

Anchor Standard #5. Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.
Anchor Standard #6. Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

Anchor Standard #8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.

Anchor Standard #10. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.

Science Standards
3rd Grade, Life Science

  • LS3.B: Variation of Traits
    • 3-LS3-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.
    • DCI: Different organisms vary in how they look and function because they have different inherited information. (3-LS3-1)
  • 3-LS3-2. Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.
    • DCI: The environment also affects the traits that an organism develops. (3-LS3-2)

3rd Grade, Biological Evolution: Unit & Diversity

  • 3-LS4-3. Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
    • DCI: LS4.C: Adaptation: For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all. (3-LS4-3)

3rd Grade, Earth Systems

  • 3-ESS2-2. Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world
    • DCI: Climate describes a range of an area's typical weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over years. (3-ESS2-2)

Math Standards
2nd Grade, Measurement & Data

  • 2.MD.A.1: Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.

Project Steps:

  1. Step 1:

    Create the honeycomb base:

    1. Fold the 9" x 12" Brown Tru-Ray® Construction Paper in half the long way, then in half again the short way, and once more the long way. The paper should be folded so it is 6" long and 2-1/4" wide.

    2. Using a ruler, draw a line horizontally through the center, and along the folded side, mark vertical lines at 3/4", 2-1/4", 3-3/4" and 5-1/4". Cut each line up to the horizontal line.

    3. Unfold the paper, and cut along the creases so you have 8 strips of paper.

    4. Interlock all eight strips to create the honeycomb base.
  2. Step 2:

    Create the layers of the rain forest:

    1. First, cut four different colors of Tru-Ray® Construction Paper into the below dimensions. These will be the layers of the rain forest:

      • Forest Floor: 6" wide x 3" high
      • Understory: 6" wide x 4-1/2" high
      • Canopy: 6" wide x 6" high
      • Overstory: 6" wide x 7-1/2" high

    2. Next, cut the slits that will connect each layer to the honeycomb base.
      • On each layer, measure 1" from the bottom and draw a line across.
      • Measure, mark, and cut along the bottom edge at 3/4", 2-1/4", 3-3/4", and 5-1/4". Do not cut past the 1" line.

    3. Color each layer with Creativity Street® Glide-On Tempera Paint Sticks. Include the types of trees and wildlife found in that layer. Cut along the top to outline each layer. Make sure to leave enough paper along the bottom and sides to keep the paper's rigidity.

      • Use Creativity Street® Glitter Glue Pens or markers to outline the edges. Add small cut-outs of flowers, birds, and other animals if desired. Alternatively, use stickers to add insects and animals to the rain forest. Another option is to print out pictures, cut, and glue to each layer.

  3. Step 3:

    Create the pop-up scene:

    Position the honeycomb base in front of you so it is a square and insert each layer into the appropriate row on the base. (For extra stability, insert the layers into the existing slits on the base.) Start with the Forest Floor in the front, Understory next, the Canopy in the third row, and the Overstory in the last row. Once assembled, pull the sides to close and open the rain forest.


    pop up rainforest animation

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