Whose Amazon?

Students learn about the physical geography of the Amazon Rainforest. They then explore the impact that human activity is having on the natural systems that operate in the tropical rainforest. To conclude the unit they consider whether the Amazon rainforest could be used sustainably and, if so, what sustainable management of a rainforest would involve.

Expectations

By the end of this unit we expect that all students will: know where in the world tropical rainforests are found; be able to draw an annotated diagram to show the layered structure of the tropical rainforest; recognise that human activity is affecting the tropical rainforest; be able to define the term ‘sustainable development’ and apply it to the Amazon rainforest.

Most students will: know where in the world tropical rainforests are found and be able to locate the world’s main tropical rainforests on a map; be able to draw an annotated diagram to show the layered structure of the tropical rainforest and explain how the layered structure of the forest contributes to its biodiversity; be able to draw and annotate a diagram to show how plants and animals have adapted to the conditions in the tropical rainforest; be able to describe a variety of ways in which human activity is affecting the tropical rainforest; be able to define the term ‘sustainable development’ and apply it to the Amazon rainforest when considering alternative futures for the area.

Some students will have progressed further and will: know where in the world tropical rainforests are found; be able to locate the world’s main tropical rainforests on a map; be able to explain why the rainforest is so hot and wet; link their study of weather and climate to their study of the tropical rainforest to explain the diurnal pattern of weather in the rainforest; be able to draw an annotated diagram to show the layered structure of the tropical rainforest and explain how the layered structure of the forest contributes to its biodiversity; confidently draw and annotate a diagram to show how plants and animals have adapted to the conditions in the tropical rainforest; describe a wide variety of ways in which human activity is affecting the tropical rainforest and relate them to the destruction of the rainforest’s natural cycles; confidently define the term ‘sustainable development’ and apply it to the Amazon rainforest when considering alternative futures for the area.

How to help your child

Ask your child to describe the characteristics of the tropical rainforest in terms of climate and vegetation.

You could visit the Cambridge University Botanical Garden where one of the hothouses contains plants found in tropical rainforests. If you visit the hothouse, take some paper and a pencil with you and encourage your child to draw some of the plants and annotate them to show how they have adapted to the conditions in the tropical rainforest.

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