A Trip Up the Amazon River
The Amazon River travels 4,000 miles from its source to the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of Brazil. It is the longest
river in the Western Hemisphere. For much of its length, the Amazon is bordered by dense tropical rain forest. In this rain
forest are many rare animals and plants that attract scientists in search of new discoveries. Through your research you will
learn about the unusual plant and animal life found along the Amazon River Basin.
1. Imagine that you and a friend are scientists on an expedition up the Amazon River. You are so amazed by what you see
on your trip that you cannot wait to tell those back home.
2. Use Chapter 8 and library resources to discover as much as possible about the plant and animal life along the banks
of the Amazon River.
3. Collect pictures of different plants and animals from this region.
4. Use what you learn to write a friendly letter to a classmate or a relative describing what you saw on your trip. I
would expect the letter to be approximately 1 1/2 to 2 pages long.
5. Think about the following categories and any others you find in your research to include in your letter: Mammals; Birds;
Reptiles; Fish; Insects; Trees; Vines; Flowers; Ferns; Foliage
Cooperative Group Process
1. Decision Making: With a partner pick out at least two different kinds of animals and two different kinds of plants
for each of you to describe in your letters.
2. Individual Work: Do research to find out as much as possible about these plants and animals. Use what you learn to
write the first draft of a friendly letter. Include original drawings of the plants and animals you find in your research.
3. Group Work: Share the first draft of your letter with your partner. Give each other suggestions for improving descriptions,
grammar, and spelling. Revise your draft and write your final letter.
4. Extended Group Sharing: Share your letters and illustrations with another team and look at their work.
Group Process Questions:
1. What is the most important thing you learned about the Amazon River Basin from this activity?
2. What was the hardest part of this assignment?
3. How did you solve this problem?
4. How was it helpful for you to work with a partner?
5. What did you learn from sharing with the other team?
1. Was the goal of the assignment clear at all times?
2. Was it easy for you and your partner to agree at each stage of the project?
3. Were you satisfied with your work on the project?
SPECIAL NOTE: We will go to the computer lab for three periods only. A good portion of the first visit will be taken up with
going over the project requirements and explaining things as necessary. That means that you must be focused on your research
and note taking for the remaining lab time. The actual letter writing and drawing will be done after the research has been
completed. It is possible that some of this may be done in the classroom but most, if not all, of it will be done at home.
My past experience with this assignment has shown that if students focus the allotted lab time is ample for completing the
research. You must take handwritten notes, so bring pencil and paper to each session. There will be no copying, pasting, and
printing of Internet information. The only exception is that you are allowed to print pictures as needed to use for guidance
to complete your drawings (no tracing!).
YOU MUST BE PREPARED FOR PART 4 OF THE COOPERATIVE GROUP PROCESS (See Above) ON April 12, 2006. This means you must be ready
to share your completed letter and drawings with your class mates.
When you turn in your letter and drawings you must include individual responses to the Group Process Questions and the Quick
Check (see above). These should be on a separate sheet of paper with your name in the upper right hand corner. FOR EXTRA CREDIT
the letter and the responses may be handwritten in cursive.
THE COMPLETED PROJECT IS TO BE TURNED IN ON APRIL 12, 2006
YOU MUST TURN IN YOUR:
1. Research notes (20 points)
2. Rough Draft of letter (25 points)
2. Letter and drawings (40 points)
3. Responses to Group Process and Quick Check Questions (15 points)