Roughing it in the Woods
by John Pearson
We've been studying environments and ecosystems in science class for the past few weeks, and last week, we took a look at four different kinds of forest ecosystems.Each type of forest -- deciduous, coastal, coniferous, and tropical rain -- has its own temperature ranges, its own types of animals, and its own types of trees.
As part of a writing assignment, the kids were asked to choose one type of forest ecosystem and to write a letter to a classmate, telling them what it's like there and why they like living there.
It was interesting to see which classmate each child chose to write to. A few kids addressed their letter to me or my teaching partner, but of the rest, there were very few kids who wrote to another student in their small group.
It was even more interesting to read through their letters and see what they were saying about their forests.
Most of the kids stuck to facts and talked about tall trees and lots of animals. A few, however, delved into the world of fantasy to talk about how they would be able to ride on cheetahs and fly on eagles.
After racing leopards and climbing to the tops of trees with his monkey friends, one boy said he would, "make a tent and fire from animals and sticks." Perhaps he meant the animals unfortunate enough to lose the races.
Another boy channeled his inner Tarzan as he described swinging on vines and speaking to the animals. Hopefully, he was warning them away from kids who would turn them into tents and fires!
There were some outstanding letters from kids who had their facts straight, such as the girl who talked about how pretty her deciduous forest was in the fall, when the leaves change color and began to drop from the trees. Or from another child who told her friend about the three main layers of the rain forest.