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Monday Morning Ready10.06.2017
Jumpstart Your Week!

Google wants to show you what it's like to zip through trees in the Amazon jungle. The images were released in 2015. They add to the diverse collection of photos supplementing Google's widely used digital maps. The maps' "Street View" option mostly provides panoramic views of cities and neighborhoods photographed by car-mounted cameras. But Google also has found creative ways to depict exotic locations where there are no roads. ... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

What kinds of things would you expect to see in a panoramic view of the Amazon rainforest?

Grade 5-6

How could a camera mounted to a zip line give viewers a unique view of the Amazon rainforest? What could that view teach people about the jungle that they couldn't appreciate from down below?

Grade 7-8

What do you think would be the biggest challenges for people trying to film high-quality panoramic views in the Amazon rainforest? What could they do to overcome those challenges?

Grade 9-10

According to the article, Google's Street View cameras have been on a zip line in the Amazon, gone scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands and traveled on a dog sled in the Canadian Arctic. What do you think is the ultimate purpose of these journeys? Why? And, do you think it will work?

LESSON PLAN
Write a Narrative about the Amazon

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, in small groups or with a partner, have students explore Google's Street View site about the Amazon rainforest. Instruct students to select one of the featured tours to take a trip through that part of the jungle.
  2. As students explore the image, instruct them to take detailed and descriptive notes about what they see. Remind students that this is a 360-degree image. They can zoom in and rotate in all directions to get a different perspective. 
  3. Based on what they've seen, tell students to imagine that they were actually at this site. Instruct them to use their notes to write a first-person narrative about their adventure. Challenge them to include details about what they saw, heard and how they felt as they made their way through the Amazon. If necessary, review how to write in first person.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their stories with the class. After hearing all of the narratives, invite students to share examples of how each author's description of the scene and clever use of details gave readers a memorable account of the trip.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Have students write their stories in small groups and have groups share their stories with the class. After hearing each story, instruct the class to answer three questions: 1) What part of the Amazon was the story about? 2) Was the story descriptive enough for listeners to picture the scene and understand how the authors felt? 3) Was the story written from the first-person point of view?
Grades 5-6:
Have students write their stories with a partner. Then have pairs share their stories in small groups. Tell groups to ask questions as they evaluate how well their fellow authors described the scene and explained their experience in the jungle. Encourage group members to offer suggestions for improvement.
Grades 7-8: 
Instruct each student to write a story and have students share their stories in small groups. Tell groups to ask questions as they evaluate how well their fellow authors described the scene and explained his or her experience in the jungle. Challenge them to point out key details that make it possible for them to identify where in the Amazon each story took place.
Grades 9-10:
Instruct each student to write a story and have students share their stories with a partner. Have partners evaluate one another's stories to determine how well each author described the scene and explained his or her experience in the jungle. Encourage partners to offer suggestions for improvement.
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
How Scientists and Indigenous Groups Can Team Up to Protect Forests and Climate
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about a collaboration between Smithsonian researchers and the Emberá people of Panama that aims to rewrite a fraught narrative.

The Lost Tribes of the Amazon
The Amazon rainforest is known for its diverse array of plants and animals. But people live there, too. Read this Smithsonian article to learn about the isolated groups of people who live deep in the South American rainforest.

See the Sounds of the Amazon in This Mesmerizing Video
Artist Andy Thomas helps people experience nature in a new way. Watch the video in this Smithsonian article to see how he translated the soundscape of the rainforest into visual form.

Secret Life of the Rainforest
Rainforests cover just six percent of Earth’s surface yet contain almost half of the world’s plants and animals. Watch this Smithsonian Channel video to follow scientists as they explore how life thrives in one of the most complex habitats on Earth.

Rainforests: How They Work
Learn all about rainforests from this site, courtesy of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The site explores diversity and survival, rainforest layers and examines rainforest life from different points of view.

Amazonia
Invite students to visit this site to take a tour through the National Zoological Park’s Amazonia exhibit. The site includes animal cams, an audio tour of the Amazonia exhibit and animal fact sheets.
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