Since we had already studied temperate forests and tropical forests, we began with a brief review of these two ecosystems. Then, we discussed coniferous forests, or evergreen forests using some of the facts found in Properties of Ecosystems, lesson 10. I had a sample of a pine tree, courtesy one of my helpers, to show the children. They were fascinated with seeing the branch and pine cones up close after we had learned about their unique characteristics. However, all that up close and personal observations left the children and I covered in sap. A quick trip to the bathroom to wash our hands alleviated the problem.
Once all the children returned to the classroom, I gave them directions on how to assemble and create a pine forest picture. This idea was from Animal Habitats! by Judy Press.
Once the evergreen forest pictures were set aside to dry, I launched into mountainous ecosystems by first asking the children what they knew of mountains. This enabled me to share a few odd-ball facts that didn't really fit into our lecture portion of class. After the children had shared their knowledge, I began to present the information found in lesson 24 of Properties of Ecosystems. The various ecosystems found in mountain ranges were first discussed and then variances and specifics about these ecosystems, or biomes, were covered. We also touched upon what timber lines and snow lines are. As we moved through the different potential biomes found on a mountain, we reviewed the flora and fauna of each ecosystem. Then discussed some animals specifically designed for mountain terrain, such as sheep and goats. I used pictures from Rocky Mountains to help the children visualize the terrain, flora, and fauna.
After the information was presented, the children made bald eagles following the craft directions in Animal Habitats! by Judy Press. They did need help with the slit for the wings, but were able to do the rest with minimal directions.
Finally, I asked the children to bring their bald eagles to the floor area where I read aloud Bald Eagles, by Doug Wechsler. Since the book covered all the information I wanted to share about this amazing bird, I simply read and fielded questions from the children.
Rocky Mountains, by Wayne Lynch
Usborne World Wildlife: Mountain Wildlife, by Anna Claybourne and Antonia Cunningham
Bald Eagles, by Doug Wechsler
Another Resource a.k.a. A Fun Extra My Child Got to Do Because I Am the Teacher:
Planet Earth, Education Edition: Mountains, Discovery Education DVD