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Activity 11-1: Expedition to the Kalimantan Rain Forest

PLAN

Summary Students learn about one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world by planning an expedition to, then listening to a story about a tropical rain forest called the Kalimantan Rain Forest. This activity also serves as preparation for Enrichment 11-1 in which students perform their own field study and Enrichment 11-3 in which they discuss the value of biodiversity.

Objectives

Students:

\checkmark explain the term biological diversity.

\checkmark describe several species found in the Indonesian rain forest.

\checkmark identify some of the problems and obstacles to performing scientific field studies.

Student Materials

  • Resource 1
  • Resource 2
  • Activity Report
  • Marking pens, colored pencils, crayons; Paper; Maps, drawings, photographs of the rain forests of Indonesia

Teacher Materials

  • Activity Report Answer Key
  • Maps, drawings, photographs of the rain forests of Indonesia (optional)

Advance Preparation

To enhance the guided imagery experience of the reading, you may want to make an audiotape of yourself or someone else reading the story.

Estimated Time 50-60 minutes

Interdisciplinary Connections

Language Arts Students complete the story.

Social Studies Students may discuss the economic, political, and cultural issues surrounding deforestation of rain forests.

Math Students may graph the rate of rain forest destruction in various countries.

Prerequisites and Background Information

None

IMPLEMENT

Introduce Activity 11-1 by reviewing the idea of biological diversity with a discussion of what students learned from reading pages 68-71. Have students compare the biodiversity of local habitats to those described in the text.

Step 1 Divide the class into groups of 4 or 5. You may want to assign each group one topic or characteristic of the rain forest environment. Possible topics include climate, rain forest animals, rain forest plants, and topography. Show students any pictures, photos, maps, and written resources about rain forests you have collected. Each group can then share its findings with the class.

Steps 2-3 Give students about 20 minutes to develop their packing lists. You may ask to check the lists to make sure they are realistic before allowing students to go on to their drawings.

Encourage creativity and humor when students make drawings of their teams about to begin their expedition into the rain forest, as described in Step 3 of the Procedure. You may want to hang the pictures on the wall or have students present them to the class.

Step 4 Read aloud or play a prerecorded audiotape of the Descriptive Story on Activity 11-1 Resource 1.

You may want to use some of the following items to enhance students' sensory experience:

  • spray water from squirt bottles to “mist” students as they listen.
  • brush a paper bag or paper towel against their arms to simulate contact with plants and insects in the forest.

Conclude Activity 11-1 by assigning the Activity Report as a written assignment or using the questions for class discussion after completing the activity.

Helpful Hints

More information about the rain forest and deforestation is available from the following sources.

The Rain Forest Action Network, 450 Sansome, Suite 700, San Francisco, CA 94111.

The August 1992 issue of National Geographic magazine contains a large map showing the geographic locations of tropical rain forests, the vertical levels of the rain forest, and examples of plants and animals at each level. The map can also be purchased as a poster, #20068. Call 1-800-638-4077.

Extend Activity 11-1 by:

  • Asking students, either individually or in groups, to continue the story by writing about the second day of their trip into the Kalimantan. Have students read their stories aloud in the same storytelling format as the original reading.
  • Having students investigate another tropical rain forest and the biodiversity it contains. Possible examples include rain forest areas in Borneo, the Amazon River region, or the Congo River region. Students may want to focus their research on a particular rain forest species.
  • Having students research products that come from rain forest regions, such as pharmaceuticals, tropical oils, emulsifiers, nuts, fruits, and coffee. Ask them to find out which are sustainably farmed products and which require the clear-cutting of rain forests.
  • Having students explore the issues relating to deforestation in developing countries. Often these countries exploit their forest resources because they are in debt to developed countries such as the United States. The issue becomes more complicated when environmentalists from developed countries try to impose their views about conservation.
  • Having students chart or graph the rate of destruction of various rain forests around the world. Ask them to use their graphs to make predictions about the amount of rain forest that will be lost in the future (in 5 years, 10 years, and so on) if the same rate of destruction continues.

ASSESS

Use the “packing list,” the written answers, and discussion of the Activity Report to assess if students can

\checkmark describe the rain forest as an example of biodiversity.

\checkmark explain the conditions for living and working in the rain forest.

\checkmark plan a field study.

Activity 11-1: Expedition to the Kalimantan Rain Forest – Activity Report Answer Key

  • Sample answers to these questions will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachers-requests@ck12.org to request sample answers.
  1. Based upon what you have experienced on your first day in Kalimantan ...
    1. Name two problems that you and your team might face as you attempt to count the number of species living there.
    2. Describe one or more ways to solve each of these problems. (Remember that you nave only one month and a relatively small area to sample.)
  2. Describe how you could count the species living high in the canopy layer of the forest.
  3. What would you do if you had more money to spend on this project?
  4. Give several reasons why it would be helpful to learn how many different kinds of plants, animals, and other organisms live in a tropical rain forest.

The huge biological diversity of rain forests, coral reefs, and wetlands has been attracting many tourists to areas with these habitats. These tourists learn and appreciate the biodiversity, but also consume local resources and create waste. How should the local communities deal with this new development? What policies would best promote a balance between these two concerns?

A suggested response will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachers-requests@ck12.org.

Take a moment to consider how disturbance affects species diversity. Which do you think would have more species in Figure 11.4, the undisturbed meadow or the street with buildings? Explain the reasons for your answer.

What Do You Think?

Do you think that it is important for humans to keep other species from becoming extinct? Review the four reasons listed above. What are some other reasons you can think of for humans to preserve biodiversity?

Review Questions/Answers

  • Sample answers to these questions will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachers-requests@ck12.org to request sample answers.
  1. What is biological diversity?
  2. What are three levels of biodiversity?
  3. Who are conservation biologists and what do they do?
  4. How do humans affect biodiversity?
  5. What are three reasons to preserve biodiversity?

Activity 11-1 Resource 1: Expedition to the Kalimantan Rain Forest (Student Reproducible)

Our journey on the plane is a very long one. But as we approach the islands of Indonesia, the view is breathtaking. Nearing our destination of Borneo, we can see the top of the rain forest, which appears on the horizon like an endless green sea of trees. This is our first glimpse of the uppermost canopy layer of the Kalimantan rain forest.

We land, gather our exploration equipment, and head for the vans. After riding in a van as far as the roads will take us, we journey deeper into the rain forest on motorcycles. We have to make our way through the rain forest on foot as the forest gets more and more dense. After a full day's walk, we finally reach our research area deep in the rain forest. It's dark and wet this deep into the interior of the forest. We look up and observe how thick the canopy of trees overhead is. The canopy is so thick that very little light finds its way to the paths we're navigating. This canopy forms a roof of interlacing tree branches about ten stories above our heads. There must be a lot of animals up there because of most of the activity and noise in the forest seems to be coming from above us in the trees.

Every tree looks different from the one next to it, smaller leaves, larger flowers, fatter trunks, straighter branches, more prickly leaves. The variations are endless. The trunks and branches of the b trees are intertwined with vines and hundreds of smaller plants that anchor themselves to the trees.Each tree appears to have its own web of flowers, insects, birds, and microorganisms living on it. And so far we've only seen a very small percentage of the forest. Just imagine the biological diversity of § the whole Kalimantan!

The sun is very important for life in the canopy branches. Energy from the sun helps many plants grow. The various plants provide homes, food, and protection for many different kinds of animals. We dip under a branch with a dangling vine. Suddenly, the vine moves. It's not a vine at all. It's a snake that moves slowly, then slithers away. At least it wasn't a king cobra, which is a common snake of the Kalimantan!

As we hike deeper into the forest, a deep breath refreshes us with a new scent. The rain forest has a scent all its own. Everything is moist from the frequent rains, so smells are more pronounced sweet and pungent. Sometimes we pass a simple white flower, and the strong perfume makes us stop to get another whiff! Kalimantan has 800 different kinds of orchids, and that's just one family of flowers!

Ouch! What was that? Oh, it was another insect! Insects seem to be everywhere in this forest. The flying insects are constantly buzzing in our ears! And there are always ants under our feet as we walk. There seem to be thousands of shapes, sizes, and colors. As we walk swatting at the insects, the biggest beetle we've ever seen crosses our path. With a start, we lean up against a tree to catch our balance, touching another insect, camouflaged so it blends in with the tree trunk. Wow, you didn't even see that one!

Wait! Did you just feel a raindrop on your face? Yes, and now the drops are coming faster... Whoa! It's a downpour! The leaves of the trees make a loud racket as the water hits them and drops to the next layer of vegetation. This is the first of many hours of our day that we will spend wet from the constant rain. Our clothes and equipment always seem to be wet. But we can't have a rain forest without rain! Besides, if the plants and trees were not here, the rain would fall onto bare dirt. That would create flooding and erosion of the soil that plants need to survive. The constant cycling of water, combined with the tropical heat, provides the conditions for the tremendous diversity of plants and animals in the rain forest. These conditions also allow rain forest plants and animals to grow larger than creatures in other ecosystems. That giant beetle in the path was just one of the over sized insects in this forest. Keep your eyes open!

Our task in the forest this time is to count the different kinds of organisms that live here. But, we will see only a small fraction of the animals in the flesh. Others will just leave their evidence of having beenthere. Tracks, bird nests, bits of fur, and animal scat will be important in helping us accurately estimate how many animals there are.

It's grown very dark. The rain stopped at least for now. And the day has been very tiring. So it's time to set up camp right here under the canopy and think about the wonderful diversity of living things we'll see tomorrow and count over the next month of our Kalimantan adventure.

Activity 11-1 Resource 2: Expedition to the Kalimantan Rain Forest

Facts About Rain Forests and the Kalimantan

Tropical rain forests are defined primarily by two factors.

  • Location: They are found in the tropics, near the equator.
  • Level of rainfall: Five meters of rain fall on the rain forests of Borneo each year.

Rain forests have no “seasonality”-no dry or cold season of slower growth.

A typical 4-mile patch of rain forest may contain as many as 1,500 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 bird species, 100 reptile species, 60 amphibian species, and 150 different species of butterflies.

Indonesia, a country in Southeast Asia, is made up of 13,000 islands.

Kalimantan is a part of the island of Borneo. Kalimantan has 28 percent of Indonesia's landmass.

Kalimantan is Southeast Asia's largest contiguous rain forest. Contiguous means in constant contact. A contiguous rain forest is one in which there are no meadows, plains, or anything that is not filled with trees.

Indonesia is second only to Brazil in total acreage of rain forest.

Indonesia ranks first in number of known mammal species and third behind Brazil and Colombia in total number of known animal species.

Kalimantan has 800 kinds of orchids, 40,000 known plant species, and well-known animals and plants that have come to symbolize the diversity of the rain forest. Some are orangutans, king cobras, Rafflesia (the world's largest flower), proboscis monkeys, and clouded leopards.

As of the summer of 1994, Indonesia was second to Brazil in the area of forest that is destroyed every year.

In Indonesia, the number of endangered species of mammals and birds surpasses that of all other countries in the world.

Activity 11-1 Report: Expedition to the Kalimantan Rain Forest

1. Based upon what you have experienced on your first day in Kalimantan ...

a. Name two problems that you and your team might face as you attempt to count the number of species living there.

b. Describe one or more ways to solve each of these problems. (Remember that you have only one month and a relatively small area to sample.)

2. Describe how you could count the species living high in the canopy layer of the forest.

3. What would you do if you had more money to spend on this project?

4. Give several reasons why it would be helpful to learn how many different kinds of plants, animals, and other organisms live in a tropical rain forest.

Image Attributions

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Grades:

6 , 7 , 8

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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