EdTechLens has released a new way for K-5 students to experience the beauty of the rainforest in Life Science classes through an online, interactive environment.
The online curriculum company has created Rainforest Journey, an interactive experiential program that teaches elementary school students fundamental Life Sciences concepts like the water cycle and ecosystems through a vivid virtual journey to the rainforest.
Ellen Senisi, the lead creator of the program, said:
In a nutshell, we are all about the potent combination of engaging content and the effective use of technology.
Rainforest Journey is designed to be used by groups or individuals and can be accessed on any device that is connected to the internet. The curriculum can be heavily customized, and educators can make use of lessons, reviews, tests and assessments, primary sources, and activities, some of which can be printed out and done offline. Each lesson contains reading passages, video clips, and photographs, along with interactive vocabulary tools and audio. Primary sources include interviews with experts, a video diary of a rainforest trip, and other relevant videos.
The 34 different lessons are arranged into five units: The Big Picture of the Rainforest, Adapt or Die, Animals, Plants and Fungi, and Ecosystems.
These lessons align with Next Generation Science Standards and New York State Science Standards, reports District Administration. Each section includes a Lexile score and a word count, allowing educators to tailor the experience for different grade levels, challenged learners, gifted students, or English-language learners, notes EdTechLens.
Assessments include multiple choice questions, depth of knowledge questions, and open-ended discussion topics.
Teachers can track students’ grades and view their progress, writes Christopher Piehler of THE Journal. EdTechLens’ learning management system has been customized for elementary students and teachers and their unique needs, rather than the usual practice of copying those used by higher education institutions.
Students also have the option to access an age-appropriate science blog, rainforest books, and illustrations, according to the Rainforest Journey homepage.
Third-grade teacher Mary Hargrove said:
I have been using Rainforest Journey as a whole class experience thus far. The photographs are amazing. My students felt like they were there!
The program can be accessed with a subscription, which becomes more cost-effective in bulk. A one-year license is $50 for one student and only $300 for 100 students.
Multiple samples of different topics, media, and lessons altered for grade level are available on the EdTechLens website.
EdTechLens, which was founded in 2014, creates online curricula for K-5 classrooms. Rainforest Journey, its first course, was in development for the past year, and has incorporated both personal experiences of its creators and feedback from users. Two more courses are currently in production.